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Friday, September 5, 2014

Importance of Climate action motivates Greens Senator Janet Rice

The Original story was posted on Climate Action Moreland published 3 September, 2014.

New Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice, who took up office from 1st July, has emphasised the importance of climate change as one of the primary motivations for her as a Senator and legislator in Canberra.

In her first 'official' speech she outlined her first moment on her long journey to Canberra after coming out of a 1980 climatology lecture by Dr Barrie Pittock on the greenhouse effect at Melbourne University. The realisation dawned of the serious nature of climate change and its global impact.

"Learning about global warming politicised me." she said.

It set in place a career in environmental activism (See wikipedia bio) from the Tasmanian Franklin Blockade onwards including being active in East Gippsland forest campaigns, being pivotal in the formation of the Victorian Greens, as well as 6 years on Maribyrnong Council, including one year as Mayor.

"Global warming made me realise that justice wasn't always done. That governments ignored things they did not want to confront because of powerful vested interests, or because the problems were hard and the benefits of taking action took longer than an election cycle to be realised."

She outlined in her speech that politicians have a duty of care to people and nature:

"We don't have the right to turn a blind eye to the consequences of our dirty economy. Our pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is amongst the highest in the world per person and we are reaping huge economic benefits from our coal and gas exports.

"We are major contributors to the world being on track to being 4 degrees hotter in my children's lifetime. Without urgent and meaningful action, it won't be possible to grow food crops across vast swathes of the world. In Australia, the climate of current wheat growing areas like Dubbo will become like the central Australian desert.

"Extreme heatwaves will occur every 10 years instead of every 100. More extreme than the heatwave southern Australia experienced in 2009, that resulted in the Black Saturday bushfires and the deaths of hundreds of people.

"Land that is home to hundreds of million people, including Australian suburbs and beaches, will be swept away by the sea. The Great Barrier Reef will be but a memory.

"And Antarctica - where I visited last summer - will be irretrievably on its way to being ice free. Goodbye gorgeous Adelie penguins.

We can't just sleepwalk our way into this dystopia."

You can watch her first 'official' full speech below:

Rice and fellow Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale have warned that if the recommendations of the Warburton Review in the Renewable Energy Target are adopted, thousands of Victorian jobs in the renewable sector are threatened along with billions in investment.

"It will make it harder for Victorians to save money on their power bill through clean energy, and continue to fill the overflowing coffers of the coal industry," said Senator Rice.

Already Silex have cancelled the 100MW Mildura solar farm due to the business investment uncertainty generated by the report. Wind turbine manufacturer Kepel Prince based in Portand has also warned of direct job losses.

Senator Janet Rice has her electoral office on Sydney Road in Coburg. At Climate Action Moreland we look forward to working on the ground with Senator Rice, as we have done over many years with our local Federal member for Wills Kelvin Thomson.

John Englart


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