Catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland have come early in the fire season, which usually starts in October. Climate scientists and frontline fire fighters agree: they are a consequence of climate change.
The climate emergency is already impacting all our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more catastrophic floods and storms, bushfires and droughts. Globally there will be less clean water and farmland available. It is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies’ profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments.
When renowned ecosocialist Ian Angus came to Australia in 2011 he observed that for most people it is “easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism”.
Unfortunately, imagining the end of the world is getting easier. There are almost daily reports of the accumulating effects of climate change, to choose just one source of potential apocalypse.
Another United Nations climate conference (COP23) is over — though many people would have barely noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Paris Climate Agreement is locked in and, contrary to the Coalition’s inetrpretation, Australia needs to ratchet up its emissions reduction.
This is a useful time to reflect on where Australia sits globally on climate action and what areas are of concern.
ENGIE, the French company that owns two of Victoria's coal power stations, announced on November 2 it will close the oldest, Hazelwood, by March, and is selling the other, Loy Yang B. The power stations are in the Latrobe Valley, east of Melbourne.