An Open Letter To The Prime Minister On Climate Change

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Dear Prime Minister,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you. I can no longer stay silent in regard to your stance on the issue of man-made climate change.

I write as a mother of a 13-year-old son.

Like every parent, I want the best for my son and I worry about his future and for the future of all children.

My generation, like yours, has been incredibly blessed. Born as late baby boomers or early Gen X’ers, we have lived in a time without world wars and extraordinary wealth generation, something which our grand-parents could only have dreamed of.

We want for nothing. Our generation is one of the most blessed in the history of human civilisation.

With that good fortune, comes responsibility to do the right thing, not only for our own children and for their children, but for all future generations.

How we live our lives and what policy decisions are made no longer impact just one or two years down the track, but they have decadal ripple effects.

Prime Minister, your stance on public sector debt has been very strong; its unfettered accumulation leaves intergenerational legacies. Paying later for what we do now.

On the basis that you strongly advocate reining in debt to reduce the burden for future generations, I can only surmise that you are prepared to make the hard decisions in the short-term for the long-term benefit of future Australians.

Based on this premise and your acceptance of the science of man-made climate change, I am struggling to understand how you can reconcile your climate change policies with the severity of the issue.

The only way I can rationalise your thinking, is that in spite of your claims, you in fact do not accept the science.

If you really understand the science of anthropogenic climate change, you could not possibly be supporting the policy tools your Environment Minister Greg Hunt is proposing.

Recently, strong irrefutable evidence has come into the public arena which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that since the introduction of a price on carbon, combined with a strong renewable energy target, Australia’s emissions from electricity generation have fallen by 10.3 per cent.

Concurrently Australia’s economy has grown (1.1 per cent in the last quarter, stronger than expected), in spite of the price on carbon.

The world did not stop spinning and Australia’s economy has not collapsed into the abyss. Rather it has started the process of restructuring to clean energy production.

History is littered with examples of industries which were once strong and powerful. IBM typewriters, record players, cassette players and Sony walkmans all spring to mind as elements of my youth which have been relegated to the annals of history by technological change.

Coal mining and fossil fuels for energy production are no different. They are rich and powerful industries which have thrived since the industrial revolution, and without doubt delivered economic growth.

However, the negative consequences of burning the fossil fuels are now proven to exceed the so-called benefits of cheap energy. If all the externalities of climate change are included, burning fossil fuels is not a cheap energy source.

Scientists have confirmed the intensification of natural weather events, like Hurricane Katrina and the Australian bush fires are consistent with man-made climate change.

How much are you prepared to make short so-called economic gains at the expense of all existing and future generations?

Prime Minister, if you really accepted the science, you would also accept the need to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and do everything in your power to continue to restructure our economy away from dirty fossil fuels.

Australia is blessed with abundant natural resources – sun, wind and water – and excellent brains and a strong will to develop and innovate. Why are you and your government doing everything in your power to destroy all of this?

The truth must lie in your unreserved support for the mining industry and denial of climate change science.

So please, Prime Minister, do not feed the Australian public with false platitudes that you accept the science, because your actions speak louder than your words. You could not possibly sanction any of your climate change policies or posturing on the world stage to diminish action on climate change, if you understand the severity and magnitude of the issue, not only in the here and now, but for future generations.

Nor can I accept that political ideology of ‘small government’ is acceptable for abolishing a price on carbon. The greatest leaders have proven themselves able to rise above ideological beliefs and accept proven evidence-based methods.

It is not too late, Prime Minister, to change. The greatest of men have the strength and honesty to accept when they are wrong, when their own ambitions and that of their political party, should come second to what is in the public interest.

Prime Minister, if you really cared about future generations and intergenerational risk, you would have the backbone and strength to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.

The choices are yours, but please remember it is not only my son’s future you are playing with, it is your daughters’ and all children.

What do you want your legacy to be Prime Minister, visionary or dinosaur?

Yours sincerely
Danielle Ecuyer

New Matilda

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.

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