Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.
– United Nations
What can and what should Canberra do about climate change? The answer to both these questions is “plenty”. Critics of strong climate action in the ACT claim that as a small jurisdiction, we are trying to do more than our share. Until the whole world is doing their share, nobody can do less than they can. Every person, organisation, and government must be making every decision aware of what it means for the environment.
My children are 5 and 8 years old. In 10-15 short years, they could be out on their own in the world, but what will that world look like? I want to put my hand on my heart and say “I did my best to make sure yours is a better world than the one I grew up in”. It is a major part of why I am running for politics.
The Labor/Greens coalition recently celebrated powering Canberra 100% from renewable energy. Next election, they won’t be able to claim this, because truth in political advertising laws will be in effect.
Renewable energy does not completely power Canberra, unless we count offset credits. It is still a mighty achievement, but the government is not truthful and forthcoming in their claims.
This unnecessary deception must stop if we are to become a city truly run on renewable energy.
Sustainability measures must be deliberately and urgently sought at every opportunity, targeting:
- Home and office energy use.
- Greenhouse gas emissions.
- Home, office and building waste.
- Resource recovery.
- Water use.
Every piece of public policy must consider Climate Change. This includes everything from drone delivery, to work-from-home changes, to public education, to mental health – all policy must tick the box of being environmentally friendly.
There will be some policy areas that don’t have a large impact on Climate Change, but not many. For example, increasing transparency by banning politicians from unnecessary censorship on social media will not have a direct effect on the environment. It will help environmental debate with politicians who do not believe the science, but that is secondary.
All new public infrastructure should be carbon neutral at minimum, and carbon negative if possible. Take for example, my announcement of a state-of-the-art indoor sports centre for Casey.
Sustainability and achieving carbon neutrality is front of mind for designers of modern Indoor Sports centres around the world. Considerations that will help range from the obvious to the subtle, including:
- Powered by renewables, for example rooftop solar panels.
- Solar panels connected to Community Batteries (more info coming soon).
- Discouraging people from arriving in a single-occupant vehicles, by improving pedestrian connections and walkability.
- Materials used in construction.
- Energy efficiency design.
- Use of rainwater.
- Insist on truthful and forthcoming reporting on renewable energy use in Canberra.
- Ask the climate question of every vote on legislation.
- Seek funding support to help industries transition to more sustainable practices, both environmentally and financially.
- Direct the public service to aim for carbon neutral or carbon negative on all public infrastructure.