Cows on the roof of a service station
It’s not every day you see a cow standing on the roof of a service station.
But that’s what we have seen in the far north coast of NSW, where record floods have caused incredible amounts of damage to people’s lives, homes and communities.
One in three homes has been destroyed. A number of people have lost their lives. The damage bill is already more $2 billion.
This is what the climate crisis looks like. It’s caused by the mining and burning of coal and gas. It creates bigger, and more frequent extreme weather events.
According to the latest IPCC report, floods like the one we have seen this month are likely to be more regular, and 40 per cent bigger.
That’s why it is so hard to hear politicians from the major parties say things like “no one could have predicted this”, “one-in-100-year event” or describe the events as “unprecedented.”
It was predicted and ignored.
Now, with more dire warnings for our future, it’s time to change who picks up the bill for the damage caused by the climate crisis.
Everyday people did not cause the climate crisis, we just have to pay for the damage.
That’s got to change. We need to make the people who caused the climate crisis, who have profited from causing the climate crisis, and who continue to make it worse, pay.
Companies like Santos, Woodside and Exxon are the people who should be made to pay for the climate crisis, but these companies don’t even pay tax. They make massive profits, much of which is sent offshore tax free.
The Liberal Government is trying to look the other way. With an election on the way, the government is happy to send thoughts and prayers, but not what’s needed.
What’s needed is no more coal and gas. Right now, Liberal and Labor are both backing 114 new coal, oil and gas projects. They both take millions in donations from coal and gas corporations, and the big corporations get special treatment, and their projects get fast-tracked.
This time, Melbourne has been spared. But we know it’s only a matter of time until the next fire, flood or drought hits us here. Saying that “no one could have predicted it” won’t help.
The faster we act now, the less damage there will be. Every tonne of pollution matters, and we are running out of time.
We have enough sun and wind to be a world leader in renewable energy, we can build new industries, clean manufacturing, green metals and renewable hydrogen. These industries can create generations of secure, well-paid jobs.
But we won’t get there without leadership. This country needs leaders who will stand up to the fossil fuel industry, not sell us out to them.
Otherwise, we will all be cows on the roof of a service station, watching the waters, or fires, rise around us •