What is the current government’s position on the climate?
He has done very little to suggest that he recognizes climate change as a clear and immediate danger requiring a major change in policy. Last year, just before the international climate talks in Glasgow, he reluctantly agreed to a net zero target by 2050, meaning he would cut his greenhouse gas emissions and offset what he couldn’t eliminate with things like planting trees. projects. It’s more than a pledge. There really isn’t a plan to get there.
It’s disconnected from most Australians. Polls show a majority would like to see their government tackle climate change more aggressively.
Is the ruling conservative coalition still betting on coal?
Yes, and the opposition is not far behind. Anthony Albanese, the Labor leader vying to become prime minister, said last month that a Labor government would back new coal mines, matching the pro-mining stance of the current ruling Liberal-National Conservative coalition. . It’s partly an effort to retain blue-collar support, but it’s also an attempt to avoid a repeat of what happened in the 2019 election when the Labor Party lost its apparent opposition to a new large coal mine in the State of Queensland. You wrote about it. It is owned by the Indian conglomerate Adani, and this mine has since started exporting coal.
Coal is still king in many of the districts needed to win elections in Australia.
A handful of independents ran on climate issues in 2019. I met some of them when I visited Australia in the run-up to the last election. What’s different now?
Well, there are more independents running. About 25 of them. Most are professional women – lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs – who have been recruited by community groups keen to break the bipartisan stalemate on climate change.
It is a loosely affiliated group, although increasingly coordinated. There’s more money coming from groups like Climate 200, which is basically Australia’s version of a political action committee. And there is more energy. Some of their campaigns have thousands of volunteers, far more than the main party incumbents.
The question, of course, is always whether they have enough support to win more than a seat or two.
If the election is close, as expected, independents could be kingmakers. They may be the ones who decide to form a government with Labor or the Liberal-National coalition.