Climate inaction endangers us all

Two big things hit the national headlines this week (well three if you count Barnaby Joyce’s level of ignorance): the climate change conference in Copehagen and two pandas on exhibition at Adelaide Zoo.

The giant panda has been the poster child for endangered species for decades and could soon be joined by an animal that may come as a surprise to many North Coast locals: the koala.

According to a report released at the UN Climate Summit, koalas are at risk of becoming endangered due to climate change.

The argument goes: CO2 levels increase, nutritional quality of eucalyptus leaves goes down, koalas find their only meal doesn’t provided them with enough sustenance, koalas die.

Thousands of people flocked to Adelaide to look at Wang Wang and Funi behind their perspex walls and they are being promoted as a tourist attraction for South Australia.

It’s these sorts of parallels that are getting environmental activists frustrated at the Australian government’s performance in Copenhagen.

On one hand Australians recognise that extinction of animal species is a bad and sad thing and we should be doing all we can to stop repeating that problem. On the other hand the Australian government appears to be doing bugger-all to actually advance the international action on climate change and has in fact been accused of essentially feathering our own nest.

We are the biggest polluters per capita in the world and our federal government seems to think that means we should do less rather than more.

At least the 200 local people who walked against warming on Saturday are trying to do something.

Kevin Rudd’s position that Australia will do “no more or less” than its share is disingenuous at best; we’ve already done more in the polluting stakes and less as far as action goes, subsidising the very industry that we know is causing the problem. If the right deal isn’t struck now and some serious action taken in the immediate future it will be too late – not just for the panda and the koala but for the entire planet.

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