Fight climate change

Image of a bush landscape on fire

Upon disembarking from a helicopter onto a frozen northern hemisphere wetland the fire crew dug a hole. Keen to chill our drinking water the permafrost was perfect. It was going to be a long hot day. We had a wildfire to battle. It had been a very dry Canadian summer. At that salient moment in time standing on a fire ground so far north on this globe that the sun never set, I recalled that there’s no such thing as a climate change sceptic at the end of a fire hose.

Today climate change is impacting communities around the world. Here in our beautiful bush capital we are more likely to experience intense heatwaves, a higher risk of severe bushfires and powerful storms set against a backdrop of variable rainfall.

We are already seeing the effects of climate change in our region. Standing in the ashes of my Tidbinbilla home in 2003 I sensed things were changing. 2016 was globally the hottest year on record; and Canberra experienced its hottest summer ever. This comes after a decade which had seen each year hotter than the last.

The science simply tells us the sooner we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions the better the outcome will be for our environment. We have a limited window of opportunity. There is no time for delay.

The bush capital has a proud history of leading climate change action with increasingly ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Our current target commits us to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. As a means of mapping the journey to this net zero emission target a rather insightful discussion paper builds on the ACT’s nation-leading efforts. Drawing on the latest science the strategy identifies the sectors where most of our emission reductions and explores the actions we need to take as a community for the sake of future generations.

The overarching goal is to limit the risks posed by climate change and adapt to a warming climate while increasing our collective resilience. At the same time we need to ensure Canberra remains one of the most liveable cities in the world, in fact becoming even more liveable. These dual goals are completely compatible.

The ACT is already demonstrating how effective climate change action can be. The innovative arrangements we have used to secure 100% renewable electricity have helped cultivate a burgeoning renewable energy sector protecting local consumers from potential energy price spikes.

Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change. To play your part in developing the ACT’s climate strategy – and possibly win up to $1000 by sharing your experiences in reducing our carbon footprint – visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.