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COP27 Meeting

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Tags: Climate Change

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, as we stand in this place this evening, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC is under way in Egypt. It is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual meeting and it is a very bleak meeting this year.

The world's chances of avoiding the worst ravages of climate breakdown are diminishing rapidly. The reports produced by the three key agencies in the week before the COP27 showed a terrible report card. The environment agency concluded there was no credible pathway to 1.5 degrees Celsius in place with woefully inadequate progress on cutting carbon emissions, meaning the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is 'a rapid transformation of societies'. They have found that the current pledges for action by 2030, even if they are delivered in full, will mean a global heating of about 2.5 degrees Celsius, a level that would condemn us all to living in a world of catastrophic climate breakdown.

What climate scientists and meteorologists around the world are seeing is scaring them. They are scared because the predictions for how temperature changes and changing atmospheric conditions were going to affect local weather did not take account of the local conditions that are happening.

The overall planetary and country level projections have been for a more gradual increase in changing conditions, but what we are seeing already at 1.1 degrees Celsius, only 0.1 degree Celsius increase, are frightening changes, with heat domes sitting over countries and areas for weeks and months. There was a prolonged drought in China recently, a heatwave in the United Kingdom and Europe this year, near famine conditions across Africa and devastating flooding in Pakistan, which covered a third of that country in water.

Despite the intensifying warnings, it seems that nothing will stop countries from continuing to produce emissions. What is behind that is big fossil. Oxford University has found that the combined profits, taxes and royalties generated by the oil and gas industry over the past few months would be enough to capture every single molecule of carbon dioxide produced by their activities and re-inject it back underground. Why are we only talking about transforming society and not about obliging a highly profitable industry to clean up the mess that is caused by the products themselves?

Antonio Guterres tweeted:

I have just warned global leaders at COP 27 we're on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We need urgent climate action.

In Tasmania, we are still a climate leaner, we are not a climate lifter. Our response is to pat ourselves on the back, to feel comfortable and to make small changes. We are resting on our historical record and doing nothing about the emissions that we are making every single day from the largest source of emissions in Tasmania, native forest logging.

I will stop here for a moment and salute Dr Bob Brown who has today been arrested in the Eastern Tiers Forest. It is a beautiful forest surrounding the logging coup where he spent last night camping. The logged area has been devastated. It is a shadow of the beautiful forest it once was. Bob is determined to protest for Earth. He is determined to test Tasmania's draconian anti-protest legislation because he wants to show Australians what it actually is. It is life-defying laws. It is about shortening our lives and making them worse. It is about shutting up people who are defying the madness in the policies of this Government and other governments around Australia and around the world.

If it were not for Bob Brown testing these anti-protest laws, they will continue to have the chilling effect that they were designed for in the first place. It is all about keeping people silent and stopping the natural outflow of concern and fear and transforming that into positive collective action, which is what people are doing. They are standing up around the world every day.

The Greens will continue to support - as we always have - people who protest the madness of constantly doing great harm and destroying the web of life that the earth has gifted us with. I speak of the beautiful 500-year-old blue gum, which is 325 cubic metres of wood, an enormous blue gum, the biggest in the world. Lathamus' Keep, it has been named, because it is a tree which gives habitat to swift parrots. The giant tree hunters who found it have identified it is the only living tree of that size on the planet that is not in a protected area.

In Tasmania, this is what we do every day, we have to stop it, it is not normal, it is not moral, and it is life-denying, and we stand with Dr Bob Brown and everyone else who will continue to protest against the situation that we are in.