THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S inaction on climate change undermines the role of its new National Recovery and Resilience Agency, according to former fire and emergency chiefs.
“While formation of the new agency is welcomed and is something we called for, the government is undermining disaster recovery and relief and community resilience efforts through its refusal to realistically tackle greenhouse gas emissions, the root cause of worsening extreme weather,” said Greg Mullins, former Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW and founder of Emergency Leaders for Climate Action.
“Investing heavily in adapting to worsening natural disasters without lifting a finger to reduce emissions and make them less likely is like trying to prevent a pot from boiling over by stirring it faster rather than turning off the heat,” said Mr Mullins.
“The floods, heatwaves, bushfires, cyclones and drought that Australians have endured in the past two years were exacerbated by climate change. But the Federal Government refuses to set stronger emissions reduction targets while wasting taxpayer dollars on more gas and the fantasy of carbon capture technologies rather than proven actions taken by other countries,” he said.
Emergency Leaders for Climate Action called on the agency’s new Coordinator-General Shane Stone to take a strong public stance on the need for action on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions because it is inextricably linked to increasing disaster recovery needs.
Major General (retd) Peter Dunn, ELCA member and former Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Authority, added: “The government also announced a new Australian Climate Service today, which will consolidate data from climate research institutions. While useful, using data to improve adaptation efforts without reducing emissions to address climate change won’t keep Australians safe.”
Emergency Leaders for Climate Action called on the agency’s new Coordinator-General Shane Stone to take a strong public stance on the need for action on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Former fire and emergency chiefs wish the agency well, but note that Mr Stone has been ambiguous about human-induced climate change in the past. He must now clarify his position,” said Mr Dunn.
“The Bushfire Royal Commission, all state and territory bushfire inquiries and irrefutable scientific evidence all found that climate change fuelled Australia’s worst-ever bushfires, and is increasing disaster risks. Mr Stone must immediately endorse these expert findings and the need to improve action on emissions to reduce future risks, rather than perpetuating the myth that we can just adapt,” he said.
“Australians need someone in charge who knows action on climate change is a key pillar of keeping Australians safe from worsening extreme weather.” said Mr Dunn.