Leslie Williams MP (CHC 20 February 2019) drew attention to the NSW Coalition Government’s Climate Change Policy Framework. This is a valuable statement of intent but it does nothing until it becomes legislated policies and actions on the ground.
The Framework also falls short of what is needed to reduce and manage the damage of climate change. We are already feeling the impacts but it is our children, theirs and their descendants who will cop the brunt from governments dragging their heels.
The Framework is not ambitious enough. Its goal of zero-emissions by 2050 is too far away and accommodates the lack of a rational climate policy in the COALition government in Canberra. If NSW was serious in working with Canberra to manage transition, as the Framework says, it would bypass Canberra’s abject failure and lead by example.
This weak goal also weakens the Framework’s policy directions that recognise the real benefits of the renewables-based economy that is underway. It will not stir business and government agencies to try harder to reduce emissions and capture benefits ahead of the pack.
Three of the policy directions point to the failure of governments to listen to warnings beginning in the 1980’s. Because they are allowing climate change to spin out of control, we are condemned to diverting more effort into managing its impacts on every aspect of existence instead of driving productive activity.
While the Framework inspires some confidence that the NSW Government accepts the reality of climate change and its impacts, not enough is being done. Confidence is also undermined by its actions in practice. Three examples will suffice. The Framework does not mention coal, yet the Government continues to encourage it in full knowledge that it and oil are the main culprits behind climate change. The current environmental catastrophe in the Murray-Darling Basin will be repeated unless the NSW Government becomes less intent on listening to economic interests and more so on the needs of the environment. Last, it’s encouragement of land clearing is the direct opposite of what is needed for carbon capture.