The Australian Election: A New (Climate) Hope?
I first became aware of the change in political leadership in Australia when the BBC played a clip of incoming PM Anthony Albanese (right) pledging action on climate change. Looking at the results, where a bunch of pro-climate action ‘Teal Independents’ swept into traditionally conservative seats, I was very taken with contrast to previous battles between and within Australian parties where trying to address climate change could bring political careers to a rather abrupt end.
Australia represents a very stark choice on climate change: on one hand the country’s economy is highly dependent on coal, iron ore and gas exports, on the other it has been hit by heatwaves, wildfires and drought. The result of the election suggests the populace has realised that letting go of the former is the prerequisite of dealing with the latter (outgoing PM Scott Morrison once pledged to hit net zero while keeping the coal mines open – go figure…)
So where does this leave us? I would argue in a very good place:
- One of the remaining big climate-holdouts has got on board the net zero train.
- It sends a message to the rest of the world that climate scepticism/luke warmism/”can we afford net zero?” is no longer a vote winner.
The second one is massive – far too many are tempted by the culture war take on climate, or scared of running a pro-climate action campaign for fear of scaring the horses. Albanese, the Greens and the Teal Independents have rewritten the rule book.
Photo: ALP, used under creative commons licence