Slomo’s inaction on climate change

and ocean plastic pollution

Scott Morrison’s lack of foresight and failure to act on climate is exposing Australia to risk, with a new report identifying climate change as the greatest threat to our national security. And his indecisive action on world ocean plastic pollution makes a mockery of Morrison’s shallow promises.

15 September 2021


IN a report released this week, and co-authored by the former Head of Defence Preparedness, it was revealed that climate change increases the risk of conflict, with Australia unable to achieve lasting national security without adequately addressing it.


Scott Morrison’s approach leaves Australia increasingly isolated on the world stage. It stands in stark contrast to some of our closest partners and allies, including the US, which has put the climate crisis at the top of the list for discussions at the Quad Leaders’ Summit later this month.


As the report highlighted, Australia has fallen well behind the US, UK, Japan, New Zealand and other peers in analysis of climate and security risks.


This is despite the 2020 Defence Strategic Update stating that threats to human security – including climate change – are likely to result in greater political instability and friction within and between countries and reshape our security environment.


Failure to take action jeopardises our interests and our strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific, and directly undermines our leadership in the region.


It is already well-known that strong action on climate change is in Australia’s economic interest.


Australia has the natural resources and the people to be a renewable energy superpower - creating jobs and cutting power bills at home, and exporting new sources of energy to a world hungry with demand.


But under Scott Morrison’s climate chaos, there have already been 2700 clean energy jobs lost.


The report confirms it’s unequivocally in our national security interest too.


The basic problem is that Australia has a Government divided even on the basic science of climate change, unable to commit to net zero by 2050, and their inaction has now been revealed as an immediate national security threat.


So why isn’t the Morrison Government listening to the experts and acting on climate change?


Scott Morrison also needs to answer why his Government has dawdled over the problem of plastics polluting our oceans. Just like climate change it presents a massive problem to the health of planet.


Yet Slomo is, as always, there for the announcement. The announcement by Environment Minister Sussan Ley that Australia will support the establishment of a global agreement on Marine Plastic Pollution should never have been in doubt. 

The Morrison Government should be active and ambitious in the process by which the agreement is shaped, as this hasn’t been the case in other areas of critical environmental diplomacy under Scott Morrison’s Government. 

The Morrison Government must strongly support and share the priorities identified by the international Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution for reversing the enormous harm of plastics in our environment, and commit to being part of global cooperation to solve the problem.

Despite Sussan Ley’s address on plastics last weekend at the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Environment Ministers’ High-Level meeting, it should be noted that the SPREP is the same body the Morrison Government promised to support in 2019 when the Prime Minister made a commitment of $16 million over six years to the Pacific Ocean Litter Project. Ye, according to the data currently available only $837,000 has been advanced so far, with no on-the-ground outcomes, and most of the expended funds paying the salary of one Australian public servant.


While the Morrison Government clearly wants to trumpet its concern about global plastic pollution, the Coalition’s performance and its failure to deliver any meaningful improvement to Australia’s waste crisis cannot be ignored. Plastic recycling remains at a dismal 10 per cent and despite promising investment in new infrastructure back in 2019, not one of the new recycling facilities promised by this government is operational.

An expert study released in 2020 showed that plastic in the world’s oceans is expected to triple by 2040, and previous studies indicate that up to 15 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans and waterways every year. In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and more plastic than fish by 2050.

If Scott Morrison’s Government is actually serious about showing leadership on plastic pollution, they need to deliver less packaging and more substance, less posturing and more timely action in ensuring that Australia shows leadership in reducing plastic waste at home and in our region.


And the same goes for climate change - Slomo needs to shift the gear lever out of first gear if he is ever going to make a difference to his inaction. Posturing, the announcement and the photo-shoot simply doesn’t cut it!

Grapevine News Online

Central Coast NSW

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