The Maroondah Climate Change Action Group was formed earlier this year to advocate to all levels of government on the need for action in regard to climate change and to educate the wider Maroondah community on the need for greater environmental sustainability. In working towards these aims, the group organised a public presentation at the Karralyka Centre which explored the growing consensus around climate change and the solutions that are available.
The presentation included two speakers, Dr. Peter Christoff, the Vice-President of the Australian Conservation Society and Professor at the School of Social and Environmental Enquiry at the University of Melbourne and Mark Wakeham from Greenpeace.
Dr. Christoff, who was trained to deliver presentations on Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, was able to reinforce his presentation with a number of localised examples, showing the repercussions that climate change would present to Australia. While the focus of the presentation was in regard to energy, Dr. Christoff did make reference to the damage being caused by the transport sector, which remains Australia’s fastest growing source of emissions.
Mark Wakeham spoke about the need for greenhouse reduction targets, but failed to provide any indication as to whether political parties would in reality meet such goals. While setting greenhouse reduction targets might be seen as a positive step forward, there is a need for a detailed implementation plan to achieve such goals.
As an example, the State Government has targets to increase rail freight usage to 30% by the year 2010 and public transport modal share to 20% by 2020. In the case of the freight goal, the trends have shown a decline in rail freight usage, demonstrating a complete failure to achieve this target. In regard to public transport modal share, the State Government has still failed to provide a detailed implementation plan that would work towards increasing modal share above the current figure of 9%. While more people are using public transport, more people are also driving showing very little improvement in achieving this target and a lack of conviction on the part of the State Government.
It is easy for political parties to set goals, it is more difficult for them to actually maintain the conviction to achieve such goals, particularly when target dates such as 2050 are chosen. Electorates should remain cynical until a detailed implementation plan is provided with interim targets to benchmark performance.