Cut Your Ties
Why we need to cut our ties with fossil fuels
“If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.” - Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
We know that fossil fuels are the main driver of climate change. Tackling climate change means reducing our use of fossil fuels – fast. The entire world must come together and take strong action. But if we in Australia want other countries to reduce their emissions faster, we must get our own house in order.
Australia is contributing very substantially to the problem: we rank in the top 20 emitters globally. We are the fifth largest emitter globally if our fossil fuel exports are included. Australia is the largest single exporter of coal and gas in the world and has one of the highest per capita emissions in the world. The fossil fuels that we export to other countries are directly contributing to the climate impacts we are experiencing in Australia.
Australia is more vulnerable to impacts of climate change than most other countries. We live on a hot, dry continent with an already highly unpredictable climate. We know that climate change is making Australia even hotter and even more prone to drought and flooding. It is therefore in our interest to lead with credibility and rapidly reduce our emissions, in order to be able to demand similar cuts by other countries when it comes to international negotiations and agreements.
FOR REASONS THAT MAKE NO ECONOMIC SENSE our federal government is actually increasing Australia’s vulnerability by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of over $10 billion per annum.
The $7.8 billion cost of the fuel tax rebate alone is more than the budget of the Australian Army.
Here is why fossil fuels are bad for Australia:
X Bad for the economy and jobs
A recent Deloitte’s Access Economic Report estimates the Australian economy would lose over $3 trillion and over 880 000 Australian jobs over the next 50 years if we continue burning fossil fuels. On the other hand, the report shows that with a rapid transition away from fossil fuels, Australia will gain $680 billion by 2070, with 250,000 jobs added to Australia’s economy.
X Bad for our health
Cost public health, and health impacts. Number of heat-related deaths (3400). If we don’t act on global warming, the top third of Australia will become uninhabitable from heat impacts alone. The health costs to the Australian economy from climate related health impacts will go into billions of dollars. Medical journals report on research that Australia’s inaction on climate threatens Australians’ lives now.
X Bad for our farmers and our food
Climate change is a serious threat to Australian agriculture and agricultural output. It impacts our food security and sustainability of regional communities. Agriculture is more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change compared to other sectors of the economy. Unchecked, climate change will result in food that is more expensive, more limited in availability, and of poorer quality. Our farmers are well aware that climate change poses a severe threat to them, which is why they are also pushing for change.
X Bad for our security
A recent report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warns that ‘…within a decade, as the climate continues to warm, the relatively benign strategic environment in Maritime Southeast Asia - a region of crucial importance to Australia - will begin unravelling.’ The report warns that climate change is amplifying multiple stresses in the region – drought, heat, flooding and food shortages – and that '...the combination of numerous increasing risks suggests that we’re on the cusp of an overlooked, unprecedented and rapidly advancing regional crisis’. In addition, Australia imports around 90% of its fuel security needs, exacerbating economic and societal risks.
Fossil fuels are bad for Australia, and bad for the world. They are driving climate change, leading to increasingly dire consequences. The good news is that we have the solutions to tackle climate change. The technologies needed to replace fossil fuels cheaply, while creating new job opportunities, exist today. What is missing is the vision and commitment from many of our political leaders to implement policies that will drive the change needed.
It is time to send a clear message to our political leaders – listen to the experts and act in the interests of we, the voters. If you are not prepared to protect our future by cutting your ties with fossil fuels, we will cut our ties with you by electing a representative who will.