Australia’s New Foreign Minister Uses Opening Speech To Talk About ‘The Grim Reality’ Of Manmade Climate Change

The Australian Climate Commission said last May we must act now or “the global climate may be so irreversibly altered we will struggle to maintain our present way of life.”

In the lead up to passing a comprehensive climate bill last year, the Australia’s political ‘debate’ over climate change became downright vicious. Some deniers actually threatened climate scientists and politicians who supported taking action to price greenhouse gas emissions.

In response to the ongoing war being waged by denial groups, Australia’s new Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, used his opening speech to the Senate to focus on the importance of addressing climate change. As former Premier of New South Wales, Carr has been outspoken on climate issues throughout his political career. With his new office in the Senate, he continues to sound the drumbeat:

“The land we call our own … is being transformed, as is the rest of the planet. Since the late 80’s I’ve been an unapologetic believer in the grim reality that human activity is changing the earth’s climate,” he said this week. Australia’s ABC News reported on the speech:

“But what if this shock, this chemical experiment with the Earth’s atmosphere is only the first of a series of shocks we might sustain?” he said.

“What about the change in the chemical composition of the oceans as they absorb more and more of the carbon our civilisations have been emitting?”

Senator Carr also used his speech to outline his vision for the way Australia can help promote tolerance between cultures and religions.

“Running foreign policy is about protecting our national interest … but it is also about being an exemplary global citizen when it comes to protecting human rights and protecting the world’s oceans,” he said.

In 2008, Carr gave a speech at the University of New South Wales, in which he called climate change deniers “the present danger.”

Watch it:

The Obama Administration, which has fallen completely silent on climate change and defending scientists from attacks, could learn something from Carr’s approach (see also “Aussie PM Gillard gives climate speech Obama won’t“).

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10 Responses to Australia’s New Foreign Minister Uses Opening Speech To Talk About ‘The Grim Reality’ Of Manmade Climate Change

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks to Carr for his plain speaking. The only Democrats who use similar language are Inslee, Sanders, and Markey. The rest are mostly cowards.

    I hope Carr can persuade his government to cancel their $20 billion coal contract with China.

  2. john atcheson says:

    Where are the US politicians with similar courage? I see none. And I see a press which doesn’t cover the few who do speak out in muted terms.

    This is a slow motion tragedy, in the true sense of the word.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    There are more, for instance Whitehouse.

  4. Eduardo Vargas says:

    Bernie Sanders probably. Let’s have some hope my friend.

  5. M Tucker says:

    We do have some legislators who have been working for years to write some kind of legislation that will pass both houses.

    There is a name that is right on the tip of my tongue…Who was that guy? I think he actually did get some kind of climate bill written…maybe with some help…Yeah, it’s starting to come back, and they actually got it passed through the House with the enormous help of the most outstanding Speaker the House has seen in many years, the favorite whipping-girl of wacko conservatives, Nancy Pelosi. What was the name of that congressman who wrote that bill? Doesn’t he constantly mention climate change every chance he gets only to be mostly ignored? I Got It…Waxman! He wrote the Waxman Markey climate bill. Henry Waxman, that’s the guy! He’s a relentless champion of climate legislation! He talks about it all the time.

    Here from NYT Green blog of 3/7/12:
    “The new Republican majority in the House has a lot of power to write our nation’s laws, but they do not have the power to rewrite the laws of nature,” Mr. Waxman said. “Republicans in Congress can’t cure cancer by passing a bill that declares smoking safe. And they can’t stop climate change by declaring it a hoax.”

    Oh, and what-do-you-know, an article from CP just two days ago.

    Get to know your climate-hawk Senators and Congress people even if they are ignored by the press. Forget Politico and NBC. Do not expect USA Today or the NYT to get anything right. Become a walking source of legislators who do want to preserve a livable climate. Pass those names on to those you speak with about this issue.

  6. Solar Jim says:

    Thanks to the Honorable Bob Carr, whose country can readily be powered completely by a clean, renewable non-nuclear energy economy (as can the world).

  7. Gillian says:

    Hurray! Bob Carr is an articulate champion for common sense. It’s good to have him on the world stage, making a difference.

  8. owlbrudder says:

    As an Australian, it makes me glad to see one of our politicians speaking the truth so unambiguously. Sadly, the current political sentiment over here makes a win for his party (Labor) in next year’s election look unlikely.

    At least, by then, our Emissions Trading Scheme will be up and running and Labour + The Greens will continue to hold the balance of power in our Senate, so the Radical Right will have a hard time trying to dismantle the environmental policies enacted by this government.

    Perhaps, next year, for the first time, I might not vote for the Right. Am I becoming a closet Greenie? Horrors!

  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mike, if you don’t like our black coal contract with China, cop this – the new Tory govt in Victoria is launching a new proposal to export massive quantities of its BROWN coal to developing countries!

    Not only is this filthy coal, one of my colleagues in the physical sciences tells me that when it is dried out in preparation for export, it has a high potential to spontaneously combust – thats a lot of ships that are likely to go ‘bang’ on the high seas without warning – they will all be accidents of course, ME

  10. quokka says:

    Actually, Bob Carr is a strong supporter of nuclear power. A view no doubt influenced by his acknowledgement of the seriousness of the climate problem.