Additional Comments from the Australian Greens
The Greens acknowledge the
extensive work of the Committee in its inquiry into the implications of climate
change for Australia’s national security. We thank the Committee and the
Secretariat for its high-quality work, and welcome the recommendations in the
This inquiry has highlighted the
crystal-clear threat of climate change. As the Climate Council stated in its
submission to the inquiry “climate change poses a significant and growing
threat to human and societal well-being, threatening food, water, health and
national security”. Many submitters and witnesses made reference to the current and existential
national security risk that climate change presents, including Mr Mark
Crosweller, Director-General of Emergency Management Australia.
In its submission, the Department
of Defence was one of many witnesses to state that climate change is a “threat
multiplier”. Defence noted that climate change has helped to exacerbate many of the current
conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria, and has contributed to the
current emerging refugee crisis in Africa.
This inquiry has also shown that
climate denial is a threat to national security. It is overwhelmingly evident
that mitigation is the most important task in reducing the security risks posed
by climate change. As Oxfam noted in its submission:
...we cannot afford to focus on
response at the expense of prevention...To protect communities, governments must
act rapidly to mitigate the worst effects by limiting warming to 1.5°C, whilst
helping communities and countries around the world adapt to the impacts we can
no longer avoid.
Yet some members of our current
Parliament remain intent on blocking any action to reduce Australia’s
greenhouse gas emissions, such that Australia’s emissions continue to increase
At the same time, successive
Coalition and Labor Governments have overseen drastic cuts to Australia’s aid
budget. This directly contravenes evidence heard during the inquiry, calling
for Australian leadership in supporting climate change mitigation and
adaptation efforts through its international aid program.
Furthermore, successive cuts to government
funding of climate science and research stands in stark contrast to
recommendations from submitters and witnesses that it is in Australia’s
security interests to increase the capacity of our climate research
institutions. These cuts have been exacerbated by continued political attacks
on the validity of climate science. A clear statement of support regarding the
importance of climate science, backed up by increased and sustained Government
funding, is critical.
The Australian Greens welcome the
fact that this inquiry has broken new ground in recognising and understanding
the severe security risks posed by climate change. We note that many of the
submissions contained compelling recommendations to address climate and
security challenges. We hope that these suggestions will be further explored in
a Climate Security White Paper (Recommendation 2 of the Chair’s report). The
Australian Greens have four additional recommendations that are, in our view,
fundamental to addressing the climate and security challenge.
Phase-out greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the Australian
economy by 2040 at the latest, including ensuring that Australia reaches the
target of 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Plan and upgrade the ADF’s role and capabilities to provide equal
priority to humanitarian, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions, alongside
its warfighting functions.
Provide at least $3.2 billion in climate finance funding each year by
2020, in addition to the existing aid budget, so that developing nations,
particularly those in our own vulnerable region, can build climate resilience.
Increase funding to the CSIRO climate program and other climate science
programs and institutions, along with assurances around funding stability, so
that Australia can better understand the threats posed by climate change.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
The Australian Greens
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page