In compiling my list of politicians and their acceptance or rejection of the science that demonstrates unequivocably that human-induced climate change is real and serious, I have come across a number who haven’t made a definitive statement either way. With some of those, the position is a bit ambiguous as they do make general statements about emissions or protecting the environment. For the purpose of this list though, the criteria to be classified as an acceptor is a definitive statement acknowledging what the science tells us. To search for that acknowledgment (or rejection), I go to a site that allows me to search every speech recorded in Hansard by a given member for specific words and phrases. My word of choice is of course “climate”. So how did Karen Andrews go?
In Karen’s 153 speeches to parliament, she used the word “climate” just 5 times. Given that climate change is arguably the most important issue affecting the Earth, perhaps Karen’s use of the word “climate” was more about quality than quantity? You be the judge.
Mar 1, 2011 Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2010-2011; Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-2011: Second Reading
“We have great beaches, a wonderful climate and many things to do. Why wouldn’t you want to holiday with us on the Gold Coast?”
Okay, that’s one down. Perhaps the next four will be hard hitting…
Nov 2, 2011 Questions without Notice: Qantas
Nov 2, s011 Bills: Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Online Games) Bill 2011; Third Reading
Nov 2, 2011 Bills: Education Services for Overseas Students Legislation Amendment (Tuition Protection Service and Other Measures) Bill 2011, Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Tuition Protection Service) Bill 2011, Education Services for Overseas Students (TPS Levies) Bill 2011; Second Reading
“We have an excellent climate on the Gold Coast, with wonderful beaches and an equally beautiful hinterland.”
Well, there you go. Three separate speeches on three very different subjects on the same day and she just recycled the same irrelevant line for each speech. Lazy lazy lazy. I’m beginning to think she should look for work as a travel consultant. Well, one to go…
Feb 9, 2012 Bills: Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011; Second Reading
“With the current economic climate, the Gold Coast’s building and construction industry…”
So disappointed. I was sure we were going to get five statements about the Gold Coast’s beautiful climate. Instead we got four of those and one about the economic climate. Nothing about climate change though. To me, the thing that makes this failure to discuss climate change so astoundingly stupid, is that the Gold Coast, being at sea level with many properties only just above on reclaimed swamps shaped into canal estates, is an area destined to be extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. With the Gold Coast deriving most of its economic returns from tourism, Karen Andrews’ travel agent-like sales pitch seems even more ridiculous. What tourists are going to come to a beachside resort city with no beaches?
In 2010 the federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency produced inundation maps for the Gold Coast. The first shows projected sea level rise of 0.60m by 2100. The second, a more serious sea level rise of 1.1m by 2100.
Well it seems that at least somebody is taking the threat of climate change and its projected effects on the Gold Coast seriously. But the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency are not the only public officials who are. The Gold Coast City Council released a document identifying all the climate risks and strategies for adapting to them. It’s called the Climate Change Strategy 2009-2014 Gold Coast City Council. From the Executive Summary…
It is anticipated that climate change will impact Gold Coast weather patterns and amplify the occurrence of extreme events like cyclones and heat waves. Climate change will require more intensive responses to natural disasters like drought, bushfire and flood. Council will lead our community in preparing for these unavoidable events by increasing efforts to mitigate future impacts.
Further, in 2011, the Insurance Australia Group made a submission to the Barriers to Effective Climate Change Adaptation
Productivity Commission. In it calls on government to undertake a number of actions in regard to climate change focusing mostly on mitigation and adaptation as they pertain to infrastructure. Here is the Executive Summary…
Weather and climate are “core business” for the general insurance industry. At its most basic, insurers underwrite weather-related losses (including physical damage to insured property and interruptions to business continuity) by assessing, pricing and spreading the risk and then meeting claims when they arise.
Adaptive measures can complement insurance in dealing with the consequences of climate change. Insurance is a means to provide compensations for financial losses. However, it is preferable to prevent losses from occurring subject to the cost-benefits involved. The optimal solution is a combination of the two – implementing preventative measures to reduce loss frequency and severity and insuring against rarer and more costly events. Government preventative infrastructure spending reduces future losses and enables more affordable property insurance schemes.
IAG appreciates that the Federal Government is mindful of a general policy, adopted by successive Australian Governments in recent times, to the effect that where commercial markets, including insurance markets, operate efficiently and effectively on their own, the government should be reluctant to intervene.
IAG recognises the crucial role of government in providing a comprehensive and clearly defined regulatory framework that promotes community resilience to risk and facilitates more affordable premiums and more predictable claim costs. Government has a particular role in encouraging and regulating risk-appropriate development of the built environment and providing an appropriate emergency services framework.
To further mitigate against risk, IAG believes there is a need for greater emphasis by government on community adaptation to extreme weather events, including stronger building codes to protect structures from extreme weather hazards – tropical cyclones, severe storms, hailstorms, bushfires and flood – more risk-appropriate use of land and greater emphasis on hazard mitigation infrastructure.
Until now, building code standards have focused in principle on protecting life and safety. IAG suggests there is scope to enhance building standards so that they also cost effectively protect the property itself, and its owner’s financial interest, without sacrificing safety performance.
Government has a crucial role to play in risk-appropriate land use planning and zoning. Land that is, or becomes, at unacceptable risk from hazards such as tropical cyclones, severe storms, hailstorms, bushfires and flood should not be zoned for residential or commercial use. Without sound and consistent government controls, there is little to prevent ongoing building in locations of extreme vulnerability.
Cooperation and data sharing with government is essential to ensuring that the risks can be mapped and understood, and significant solutions are yet to be implemented.
The general insurance sector argues that there is a clear social and economic case for eliminating or at least reducing State insurance taxes and charges as a priority in any reform of Australia’s taxation system.
It is in the insurance industry’s interest to educate the community on how to become more resilient to increasingly severe weather events, as well as how to reduce their impact on the environment.
There are also numerous papers dealing specifically with the issue of climate change in Australia generally and on the Gold Coast more specifically. For example, here, here and here. The fact is, climate change is real, caused by us and serious. For places like the Gold Coast, it will ruin the tourism industry it so heavily relies on, unless serious mitigation and adaptation is undertaken. The LNP Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews, is either completely oblivious to the important issues that will face her electorate, or she is deliberately burying her head in the sand. The other option of course is that she thinks she knows more than the experts. Whatever it is, she is an idiot and does not deserve to represent the people of McPherson. It is the inaction of people like her and her party full of climate change deniers that will ruin the livelihoods of the very people who vote for them.