Government blocks crossbench motion to declare a climate change emergency

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Morrison government blocks motion moved by Greens, supported by Labor and cross-benchers, to declare a climate change emergency.

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AAP Image/Lukas Coch
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The Morrison Government has blocked a motion in Federal parliament to declare a climate emergency, and refused efforts from the crossbench to even discuss the proposal.

Greens member for Melbourne Adam Bandt sought to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives late in Tuesday’s sitting, that would have allowed him to move the climate emergency declaration with fellow crossbench member, independent member Andrew Wilkie, seeking to second the motion.

“If the government can declare a budget emergency, than parliament can declare a climate emergency,” Bandt said.

“Nothing is more urgent than acting when people’s lives and livelihoods are under the threat. That is what we are witnessing now. This is urgent because people are going to the walle because of climate change.”

“Some of our communities have been told to prepare to run out of water in coming months. Parts of Australia have been on fire less than two months after winter. It is clear that we do not have global warming under control.”

“The thousands of people who are in a crippling drought, know we are in a climate emergency. The people who have endured bushfires recently, they know we are in a climate emergency. Our children know we are in a climate emergency,” independent MP Andrew Wilkie added.

“But this government doesn’t know we are in a climate emergency.”

“We are in a climate emergency, we must acknowledge that, and we must address that.”

Government members of the House of Representatives blocked the suspension, with the parliament voting 72-65 to prevent the climate emergency declaration from being moved as a motion.

In addition to Bandt and Wilkie, the climate emergency declaration had the support of Labor and independents Zali Steggall, Rebecca Sharkie and Helen Haines.

The Greens had flagged that they would move a motion to declare a climate emergency during the current sitting week.

Labor announced on Tuesday that they would support declaring a motion, proposing their own motion drafted by climate and energy spokesperson Mark Butler and shadow Minister Assisting for Climate Change Pat Conroy.

“Over the past 12-months in particular, we receive piece after piece of urgent advice from the world’s scientists, and professions and from the world’s leading economic regulators, that things are getting very dire indeed around the climate,” Labor spokesperson Mark Butler said.

The Greens had hoped that it may be able to coerce some of the more moderate members of the Liberal party’s ranks, some of whom recently signed up to a cross-bench led climate action group of parliamentarians.

The motion was ultimately defeated by opposition from the Liberal and National members, as well as conservative independent Bob Katter.

Federal energy minister Angus Taylor dismissed the motion, running through the government’s usual lines on its climate policies.

“We stand for meeting and beating sensible targets while maintaining a strong economy,” Taylor said.

An official e-petition calling on the federal parliament to declare a climate emergency has attracted almost 350,000 signatures.

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7 Comments
  1. Michael 1 week ago

    The argument regarding the ‘climate emergency’ put forward s a false one. It’s true it’s a very major issue and is likely contributing to the current drought conditions, however it action literally won’t make a difference. Australia emits just over 1 percent of the world’s carbon. If we had cut this by 50 percent five years ago, there would be no discernible difference to the current climate. It’s why the ‘climate solution’ argument of Labor several years ago was also invalid, as it wouldn’t have solved anything.

    This absolutely does not mean we should do nothing. Another argument is that it is a good role model for other countries. This also is not true, a good role model is only once where you not only cut emissions, but also don’t impact you local economy. It’s the unfortunate thing with the push in South Australia for renewables. Even though there is a large percentage of renewables, the cost of electricity is also (supposedly) the most expensive in the world. Great role model!

    The best approach is one that not only provides renewable power with effective storage, but one that is economically beneficial. Why would you not want that! Effective storage is a key point, batteries don’t have the capacity to supply large amounts of power over say, half a day. This is where pumped hydro in particular, and also 1414 degrees etc can play their role. It’s unfortunate we cannot competitively make solar panels on large scale, and we don’t have wind turbine manufacturing either. Almost all our renewable sources and storage have been imported. Unlike Australia other countries may be hesitant in having the renewables foreign owned and having the electricity profits flow overseas as well.

    • Ken Dyer 1 week ago

      Why do you consider the climate emergency a false argument?

      Regardless of whether Australia does its bit or not, which it isn’t by the way, the reality is that anthropogenic climate change is real and getting worse.

      The reality is that Australia will experience temperature increases by up to four degrees by 2050 if the current LNP government do nothing approach continues.

    • Ken Fabian 1 week ago

      If our share is (merely) 1% it should be easier to commit to, not harder!

      Australia does not act alone, so our contribution should not be considered in isolation; the overwhelming majority of nations support climate action, mostly without demanding the right to add to emissions (concessions purely to keep recalcitrant Australia part of the Kyoto agreement, which PM Howard still refused to ratify).

      As much as a quarter of global emissions come from nations with similar or less emissions than Australia. Some, like Germany, maintain heavily industrialised economies with not a lot more – and with much more commitment to reducing emissions further than Australia has ever shown.

      Our government has an overabundance of justifications and excuses – more thought and effort going to generating those than ever for generating low emissions energy – but our failures become the excuse others look to in turn to dodge their share; what is lacking is commitment, even for doing our 1%. .

  2. Jon 1 week ago

    Only 4 people need to cross the floor for this to get up, only a matter of time 🤞

    • ReverseConcaveSpoon 1 week ago

      I suspect everyone in the LNP would have been very sternly warned with threats of repercussions if they cross the floor on this. This is the final stand for them. Everyone else gets it and they’re cornered.

  3. Bazz12 1 week ago

    I am not surprised that they have not heard that the whole co2 problem is over and the warming cycle has been found to be a natural cycle. It was announced only a couple of weeks ago when the papers were published. The Svenmark theory of clouds and cosmic rays has been confirmed and peer reviewed and published. The result is co2 has 1/100th the previous heating as it was really caused by sun and clouds. No doubt there will be much arguing about it by the scientific community when they realise what it is about. Turku Uni in Helsinki and Kobe Uni in Japan are the authors.
    Lookup Roman warming, Medeaevil warming and Maunder minimum.
    Anyway it makes interesting reading.

  4. Ken Dyer 1 week ago

    The Senate just voted on a Greens motion calling for a climate emergency to be declared.

    Labor, Centre Alliance and Jacqui Lambie supported it, tying it (which means it was negatived, as the status quo prevails)

    50-50 split.

    Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens) saw this motion passed in the Senate:

    That the Senate:

    1. Notes:

    a. The NSW Government plans to water down environmental rules to fast-track approvals for new dams and pipelines.

    b. The Murray-Darling River is in environmental collapse and bypassing environmental protections will do more harm.

    c. Plans to override environmental protections will have negative impacts on downstream communities and the health of the River system.

    d. Building dams will not make it rain.

    2. Calls on the Federal Government to rule out giving any public funding to dam and water infrastructure projects that circumvent environmental assessment and don’t abide by proper environmental protections.

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