Scientists call for action from new government

Politicians discussing global warming, a sculpture in Berlin by Issac Cordal

More than 60 scientists and experts have signed an open letter to the next Parliament of Australia, calling for the government to make urgent action on climate change a top priority for the 46th Parliament of Australia.

Prominent signatories of the open letter include: Nobel Prize winners Professor Peter Doherty AC and Dr Sue Wareham OAM, former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley AC, former Chief Scientist for Australia Professor Penny Sackett and many of Australia’s leading scientists from disciplines including climate change, health, economics, energy, and finance, including Professor Hilary Bambrick, Professor Will Steffen and Professor Barbara Norman.

Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute Richie Merzian said: “Australia is failing when it comes to addressing climate change and the government needs to make urgent action on climate change a top priority for the next parliament of Australia.

“However you assess the fairness of a country’s emissions reduction target: by population, economic cost, or a combination, Australia Institute analysis shows Australia’s current reduction target is unambitious, unfair and irresponsible.

“The government is relying on the climate outlier advice of Brian Fisher to terrify Australians about the alleged cost of climate action, while Australians struggle to deal with the very real costs of climate inaction.

“Climate change is an enormous threat to the security and wellbeing of all Australians. Climate change is already increasing the frequency of fires, floods and drought, as well as having serious health impacts. Climate change is already a major threat to key industries, including agriculture and tourism and is already costing Australians billions of dollars every year, and will continue to rise unless we act.

Former Chief Scientist for Australia Professor Penny Sackett said: “Beginning with my time as Australia’s Chief Scientist, I have made it my life’s work to push governments to listen to the science.

“Australians have paid dearly for the chain dragging of previous governments on climate action: we are now in a climate crisis.

“The next Australian government must take the immediate and drastic action required to keep global warming on the safer side of 2°C. The time is not 2050, or even 2030. The time is now.”

[The open letter was coordinated and published by the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program. It appeared as a full-page advertisement in The Age on May 16.]

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