Wild storms point to a gloomy future
By Alex Easton
THE giant storms that last month ripped across the region will become more frequent if serious action is not taken on climate change, the Greens have warned.
Visiting Lismore with the party's Page candidate Theo Jongen, NSW Greens MP John Kaye said the Northern Rivers was particularly vulnerable to climate change.
"On the North Coast, increasingly frequent and severe storms, extended droughts, the spread of insect-borne diseases and slow but inexorable sea level rises will be particularly destructive," Mr Kaye said.
Both Mr Kaye and Mr Jongen were quick to reject suggestions that last month's storms, which included a tornado in Dunoon and tennis ball-sized hailstones falling on Lismore, were the result of global warming, and said they provided an example of the sort of thing the region could expect.
Mr Jongen said Australia's best bet for cutting greenhouse emissions and attacking climate change was to reduce the nation's reliance on coal both as a source of electricity and of export dollars.
"Our key message is that this is the climate change election," he said.
"Coal is 40 per cent of our in-country greenhouse emissions and on export coal it's 640 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. We are more than doubling our greenhouse gas emissions in coal."
Mr Jongen's comments came as his Richmond colleague, Giovanni Ebono, said the Coalition could easily retain control of the Senate even if Labor won on Saturday.
Mr Ebono said about 15 per cent of the nation's voters remained undecided on their Senate vote and that if half those remained with the National and Liberal parties then the Coalition would still be calling the shots in the Upper House regardless of who won in the Lower House.
Mr Ebono and Mr Jongen are calling for voters to back their party in the Senate to give minor parties the balance of power.
That would send a message to the major parties and give Australian people an opportunity to see the Greens' sensible, long-term policies in practice," he said.
Mr Ebono has also called for Labor to move against uranium mining, saying the issue was more important than WorkChoices.
"I will cheerfully vote against a bill that enslaves future generations to the global economy. If we do not stop mining uranium, though, those future generations may well be mutants," he said.