Blog | 22nd Dec, 2009

Mr Rudd and Mr Brumby!

Outside the Bella Centre at the opening of the Copenhagen Climate Summit there was a sign that simply said 'Blah, Blah, Blah'. I can't think of anything that more aptly frames the conference and its disappointing outcomes.

I don't know about you but I had this crazy notion that in a climate crises, our world leaders would……… well lead!

It's very easy for someone like me who was not involved in negotiating a climate deal amongst 190 odd countries at Copenhagen to make that remark. And I think we all understand that saving humankind from climate change is not going to be easy……. in fact our PM told us on more than one occasion that it is very, very hard. And I believe him!

But then again, leadership IS hard. The problem is, I am not sure what we saw in Copenhagen was leadership.

I once met an Irishman in Zanzibar (no this is not the start of a joke) who yelled to me as I was wading through a (very deep) mud hole "follow me, I'll be right behind you". And he did walk right behind me while I lead the way through the mud hole. While I found this rather funny at the time, I now realise that our PM is doing the same thing as my Irish friend – he is at the back herding everyone else forward to get a climate deal rather than out the front leading the way. And I know what you are thinking, leadership can be a bit messy (as I found out in that mud hole in Zanzibar) but unless someone is prepared to lead, we will all be stuck in the mud. And just for the record, I reached the village on the other side of the mud hole first and got the only cold beer, so leadership is not without its rewards!

For me, leadership on climate change is not about spending a week in a cold country wrangling fellow world leaders to set an inadequate emissions reduction target. Yes a global deal is essential but that's not the only thing we need of our PM and our own leader here in Victoria, Premier Brumby. We need them to get us out of the mud and take some serious, large scale and urgent action on climate change.

So Mr Rudd and Mr Brumby, you're our elected leaders……please lead (and I promise, we will be right behind you).

Lets just get on with the actions we all know need to happen. Lets replace Hazlewood, one of the developed worlds most polluting power plants with a gas plant and renewables by 2014. Lets give all our buildings a green makeover in the next decade. Lets go solar mad and get a panel on every roof we can. And while we are at it, lets reap the new jobs and new clean, green economies that will be rewarded to those that lead (it's even better than a cold beer!)

Lets not get mesmerised by the politics of the CPRS and global deals – yes they are important and we need them ASAP but they are just part of the solution and we need action now.

So PM Rudd and Premier Brumby, what I would love for Christmas for all Victorians and Australians is a whole lotta action. You already know what to do to slash emissions, you know these actions will create jobs, and you know most Aussies want action now – what the hell are you waiting for?