The Reef / Warren Entsch on Climate Change

A plea to his own government  for stronger action on climate change by Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt and Special Envoy to the Reef, has won the applause of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

AMCS campaigner Elise Springett said “….as custodians of our reef, Australia must lead and advocate for a climate-focused recovery, pulling our weight in the global effort to combat climate change.”

In a letter to the Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, Mr Entsch said that while we need to shore up our economic situation “… we must not accept a scaled back response to climate change.”

“If anything, it should be greater. We know unequivocally, that climate change is the single greatest threat to the long-term health and future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hon. Warren Entsch MP

“While at present our Reef remains a vibrant ecosystem, without sufficient global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions-the Reef’s continued decline over the decades ahead is virtually inescapable.”

Mr Entsch acknowledged Australia’s efforts to reduce emission alone would not make an appreciable difference to global temperature rises, but he said “… the combined emissions of Australia and other similar sized emitters (ie less than two percent) make up 40 percent of global emissions.”

“If any one country in this cohort should seek to abdicate responsibility for their fair share, others may be inclined to do the same.”

“I believe it is incumbent upon us as custodians of this great natural wonder, to protect it. In doing so, we must work with other parties to the Paris Agreement, encourage greater ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and ensure warming is limited to well below two degrees Celsius. Without sufficient action we risk the long-term sustainability of the Reef, the economic value it provides our nation and the 64,000 jobs that rely upon it.”

Hon. Warren Entsch MP

According to the Climate Change Authority, Australia would have to increase its ambition from the current commitment to reducing GHG emissions by 26 – 28%  (2005 – 2030) to an emission reduction target of 46% in order to stay below two degrees Celcius.

Mr Entsch was asked by DouglasNews.Network if he agreed with the Authority’s assessment, and if so, would he support increasing the target to 46%. DouglasNews.Network also asked Mr Entsch additional questions regarding his commitment to combatting climate change. He declined the request for comment for this article.

When asked for a comment by DouglasNews.Network, Douglas Shire Sustainability Group President Didge McDonald said that Mr Entsch’s recent discovery that climate change is a threat to the Reef raises more questions than it answers,

“Scientific evidence and public opinion have been ahead of Mr Entsch on the issue of climate change for years,” Mr McDonald said. “Even Australia’s school kids have had a more reasoned position and shown more leadership in demanding change to the energy and environmental policies of his party than he has to date.”

Didge McDonald, President DSSG

Mr McDonald went on to say that Mr Entsch’s abysmal track record on the environment does nothing to suggest he is ‘fair dinkum’ in what he says on climate change. 

“The big test is whether he is prepared or even has the capacity to take on the Federal Government over its rock solid support of the fossil fuel industries at the expense of renewables. Coal and gas, and his fellow parliamentarians from Queensland, continue to call the shots when it comes to the Morrison Government’s energy policy and I don’t see the Member for Leichhardt having any impact on that situation any time soon.”

Didge McDonald, President DSSG

In closing, Didge McDonald comments,

“I respectfully suggest that if Mr Entsch takes his job as ‘Reef Envoy’ seriously, he spend the time he has left in the role advancing proven practical measures to address climate change, such as carbon credit schemes, and not actively undermine them as he did with the initiative of the previous Douglas Shire Council.”

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