I spoke in Parliament today about the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, as well as Canberra’s first ‘Carrotmob’.
Climate Change, 16 June 2011
In politics, some of the most important decisions you make are the ones that outlive you, whether it is the Menzies government’s decision to expand basic research through the CSIRO, the Keating government’s decision to put in place a superannuation guarantee or this government’s decision to dramatically improve early childhood education. Great policy is made with the long game in mind. In the case of climate change, the decisions we make today will matter more for my sons than they will for me. It will be my little boys whose world will be most affected if sea levels continue to rise and temperatures increase. Young people in my electorate, much like their peers across Australia, want a clean energy future, a future where Australia prices carbon.
This was the message 24 enthusiastic young Canberrans brought to me last week: Claire Bailey and Laura Hyde, year 9 students from Campbell High School; Kiara Creaser from Dickson College; Fehin Coffey, Sophia Rose O’Rourke, Kirk Demant and Claire Hickstepp from Orana School; Vicki Tjandra and Andrew Lovering from the University of Canberra; and Zoe Anderson, Moira Cully, Laura Hogan, Eliza Hopkins, Lindsey Cole, Charlotte Wood, Joshua Creaser, Jonathan Rosseau, Tess Corkish, Ben Huttner-Koros, Adam Huttner-Koros, Alexandra Gill, Hayley Shone, Ben Molan and Tom Sloan from the Australian National University.
These young Canberrans presented me with a petition signed by 700 people supporting a price on carbon and investment in renewable energy. They did so under the umbrella of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. The AYCC has been determined to see Australia act. They have been dogged in their determination and unwavering in their commitment to ensure youth throughout Australia have their voices heard. It is often said that young, progressive activists are anti-market, that they are hostile to economics. But Australia’s young climate change activists show how wrong this is. The AYCC activists I met with understand there is no contradiction between economic growth and environmental preservation and that a market based mechanism is the most efficient way of tackling dangerous climate change.
Speaking of markets, I want to use this opportunity to commend the organiser of Canberra’s first ‘Carrotmob’. Modelled as the environmental equivalent of a flash mob, Carrotmobs attract extra shoppers in return for the store owner’s commitment to spend the extra revenue on improved energy efficiency. I commend Ren Webb and the other Carrotmob organisers who helped Ainslie IGA manager Manuel Xyrakis accumulate an extra $12,000 to spend on reducing his store’s carbon footprint.
Thousands of Australians, young and old, support market based mechanisms for tackling climate change. It is time for all members of parliament to get on board. We need to price carbon now.