Our current Climate Change initiative revolves around inspiring our fellow North Queenslanders to think about what a carbon neutral future could look like for our region.
Climate change – global warming – is a constant background to nearly all of our campaign issues. Our opposition to new coal mines and our support for renewable energy are based on the fact that carbon emissions, primarily from coal-fired electricity generation, drive climate change and protection of the Great Barrier Reef and our vulnerable native species depend crucially on mitigating climate change.
Rally on the Townsville Strand for the Global Day of Climate Action, 21 September 2014
NQ Climate Change Impacts
North Queensland is already feeling the impacts of a changing climate, with unprecedented weather events and temperatures. The flooding event in and around Townsville in February 2019 smashed previous rainfall records for all durations from two to twelve days, with 1259.8mm falling in just ten days (see BoM's Special Climate Statement). This followed the heatwave of November 2018, which saw previous maximum temperature records in areas around Cairns, Proserpine, Coen, Cooktown, Innisfail to Townsville, Bowen to Sarina and around St Lawrence exceeded by 1.5 to 4°C (source here).
Climate change is no longer an issue that belongs in the future - it is here right now and our window of opportunity to mitigate its worst impacts is quickly closing. It is more important that ever that everyday people become active and vocal about the climate emergency and pressure decision-makers at every opportunity.
Recent Climate Change Activities in Our Region
Students Strike for Climate in Townsville on 15 March 2019.
On 15 March 2019, Townsville school students gathered at the Gregory Street Ampitheatre to share their stories, concerns and demands regarding climate change and climate action. This nationwide event was organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), and the Townsville event was brought together by AYCC's North Queensland Organiser Alicia Walter, with the help of local volunteers.
Attendees of the Global Climate Strike in Townsville on 20 September 2019
20 Sept 2019, people of all ages and backgrounds were invited to attend Townsville's Global Climate Strike at Strand Park. This event featured a range of guest speakers, stalls and ethical food trucks, and attracted over 500 attendees. This event was also organised by AYCC, and NQCC assisted in promoting the event and provided equipment and volunteers on the day. It was an important event to bring people together for a common cause. To learn more about this event, visit Malcolm Tattersall's "Green Path" blog post here.
Climate Concert (Queensland Climate Week 2019)
Townsville's Climate Concert at the Strand Ampitheatre for Queensland's Climate Week, June 16 2019
In 2019, Queensland celebrated Climate Week with events throughout the state. As part of this initiative, NQCC hosted a Climate Concert in Townsville, open to the public. This featured performances, talks and face-painting by talented and knowledgeable locals. For more information about this event, read our blog post here.
"HeatWatch" Presentation by the Australia Institute
Q&A session at Townsville's HeatWatch presentation. Pictured are Des Bolton, Mark Ogge and NQCC Campaigns Manager Tarquin Moon.
In March 2019, NQCC hosted a presentation of the Australia Institute's HeatWatch report for Townsville. The event included talks from Mark Ogge (Australia Institute's Principal Advisor), Dr Scott Heron (a coral reef expert working with JCU) and Des Bolton (a Burdekin farmer). It was enlightening to hear about the current and projected impacts of climate change on local communities, marine ecosystems and agriculture. For more information, read our Paperbark article here.
Other Organisations Working on Climate Change in NQ
NQCC is currently the only environmental organisation based solely in North Queensland. However, there are a range of other organisations working on climate advocacy with Townsville/NQ branches:
Responsible Water Conservation
Responsible water conservation is more critical than ever to help prevent catastrophic droughts and bushfires. For information and advice relating to responsible water conservation, we encourage you to explore the resources below.
The science of climate change is by now quite clear and generally well understood. In brief, CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat, raising the average temperature of the atmosphere and (indirectly) the oceans. We have emitted so much extra CO2 since the Industrial Revolution (and especially since 1950) that we are on course for dangerous droughts, heat waves, sea-level rise and species extinctions – up to and including mass starvation and massive dislocation of human populations. For authoritative summaries of the science, with links to further information, visit these pages by CSIRO, the BoM or NOAA.
The science has been denied and obscured by vested interests, almost since it was first discovered. Those vested interests, overwhelmingly fossil fuel producers, have campaigned successfully to cast doubt on the science and to corrupt governments, with the object of slowing our vital move away from fossil fuel usage. At this stage, it is fair to say that anyone directly involved in the debate, whether scientist or politician, who denies the science is either lying or incompetent, and to call them a ‘denialist’. For more on denialism, try Skeptical Science and Desmogblog.
A glimmer of hope arose with COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, when world leaders met and agreed to work to keep the increase in global temperatures to less then 2 degrees C - and strive to keep it below 1.5 degrees C (read this Ecowatch article for a review of what the Paris meeting achieved and what is still to be done). Sadly, within weeks of this agreement, the Federal and Queensland governments approved what would be the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere and the third largest in the world. Despite all the Paris rhetoric, our work as a community is not over.
As a community we need to slow down climate change as quickly as possible and then move towards stopping and even reversing it. Emissions reduction is the crucial strategy here - getting out of fossil fuel through demand reduction (efficiency) and a shift to solar and wind power; one current focus is starving coal mining companies of funds through divestment initiatives, e.g. Kittens for the Reef, a NQCC project. At the same time, we need to work on adaptation and other aspects of mitigation; see this UN Environment Programme page for more.