While Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems to believe that he's delivering Australia's key commitments, to me, and many of my fellow students, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Rather than matching the rising ambitions of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and countless more nations, in reducing their emissions, Australia's environmental policy maintains its usual blasé 'business as usual' approach.
Outdated and corrupt. According to a report by The Australian Institute in April 2021, in the past year alone, fossil fuel subsidies cost our government more than 10 billion dollars.
SBS News revealed that in May, the government invested 600 million dollars in a brand-new gas-fired power plant. In what way is that going to reduce our carbon emissions?
What does Australia gain from essentially paying private corporations to ruin its beautiful natural features, and sacred sites. We deserve better!
A government elected by the people should be working for the people. Aren't you sick of paying for the subsidies for the mining of fossil fuels, both economically and environmentally, while big petroleum organisations pay small fractions of tax on their billion dollar revenues?
We're the ones being told to 'go on a low-carbon diet', and 'live sustainably' while big fuel companies spill oil all over our oceans on a regular basis.
With our natural abundance of land, ocean and scorching solar energy, Australia has the potential to be one of the leading countries in renewable energy. Yet, our government continues to sit back and expect the rest of the world do the hard work while our natural resources are exploited by private mega-corporations that wouldn't dream of using it to benefit the rest of us.
This selfish capitalism is quite literally poisoning the air around us. If you let it continue, it'll end up poisoning you next.
Despite only making up 0.33 per cent of the Earth's population, non-profit organisation Climate Analytics found that in 2019, Australia's combined domestic use and export of fossil fuels contributed to five per cent of the world's annual carbon emissions. That's the same as Russia, which has five times as many people!
There's no way we actually need that much electricity. Just because we're not the one using the energy, doesn't mean we aren't responsible for it.
I, for one, am ashamed of our over-consumption, and disregard for the bigger picture. While you may not be the ones mining coal, and gas, and oil, you are the ones with the power to stop it, especially since the government doesn't seem inclined to do so of their own freewill.
I understand that exported goods and products contribute hugely to the Australian economy, but doesn't that just mean that the longer we wait to make the switch, the more devastating the impact will be?
Think about it logically.
What's going to happen once we run out of fossil fuels, and are forced to play catch-up to the nations that buckled down and did things properly? We could easily get ahead of the pack, just by investing the money spent on fossil fuels, into renewable energies. We should be doing our best to preserve the Earth we have now for the future generations.
Less than 60 years ago, kids looked into the future and imagined flying cars, spaceships and all manner of scientific wonders. These days, my biggest hope for the future is to one day own a house, and even that seems unattainable.
My generation will be suffering from the actions of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents for the rest of our lives.
I've already lived through global devastation from natural disasters and NASA projects. All I can expect from the coming years is further fear and despair caused by our very own weather system; heavier and more frequent rainfall, disastrous droughts, stronger cyclones, and a global rise in sea levels.
Continuing to use fossil fuels will only accelerate climate change.
The only real argument against banning fossil fuels is the number of jobs that would be lost. The last thing that we want is to put Australians out of work.
As climate change deniers often like to say, it is impractical to immediately stop all fossil fuel activities, but phasing them out and supporting renewable energies would not only keep employees in work, but create new job openings.
According to the Australian non-profit Climate Council, if we reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, there would be 50 per cent more jobs in the Australian energy industry than there currently is.
We don't need to stop using everyday appliances to reduce electricity consumption, but we do need to fight back against corporate greed that hides behind government initiatives.
The next time students are flooding the streets striking for climate change awareness, join us!
Being climate conscious right now will make us self-sufficient for years to come and ease the way for future Australians.
I'm perfectly willing to make the effort. Are you?
- Veronica McCarthy writes for The Courier's youth platform SHOUT.