BURNING ISSUE: Australia has a wealth of coal, but we must act now to avoid converting the fossil fuel into atmospheric carbon, says Prof Jerry Vanclay, of Southern Cross University.
BURNING ISSUE: Australia has a wealth of coal, but we must act now to avoid converting the fossil fuel into atmospheric carbon, says Prof Jerry Vanclay, of Southern Cross University.

Academic fears softening on climate change stance

THE Rudd Government’s commitment to fighting climate change will soon be tested, according to Professor Jerry Vanclay, head of Southern Cross University’s school of environmental science.

Dr Vanclay was speaking at a climate change forum held in Ballina on Friday night, organised by Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin.

The professor said it was still too early to rate the Government’s performance on climate change, but he suspected it would not be following all the recommendations in the Garno Report.

“I sense there has been a softening of their position,” he said.

Dr Vancaly said it was important that Australia took action on climate change, but it also needed to try to get other countries to take action too.

“We are all in this together and it won’t work unless we all take action,” he said.

Dr Vanclay said the use of coal and petroleum was leaving future generations a poisoned legacy.

He said the burning of coal and petroleum created six billion tonnes of carbon emissions each year, of which only four billion tonnes could be offset by Mother Nature.

“An immediate reduction of about one-third will immediately stop the problem of global warming,” he said.

Dr Vanclay said reducing carbon emissions by one-third would be easy for most people. “Solar hot water panels, driving a smaller car, having a water tank so water doesn’t need to be transported and building homes that don’t need air-conditioning would be enough,” he said.

Dr Vanclay warned that the evidence to support climate change was very strong. “I don’t have a lot of patience for people who question climate change, there is no question about it any more,” he said.

Dr Vanclay said people needed to tell Kevin Rudd to take the lead on climate change action because Australia’s infrastructure was under threat.


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