Adam Bandt: “Young people are powerful”
At the start of June President Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling out the Paris Climate Agreement because he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”.
In December 2015, 195 countries agreed to the global pact of limiting carbon emissions. The agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial era temperatures, as scientists have warned that rising temperatures will lead to unpredictable super storms and destructive heat waves.
Of those 195 countries, 147 have ratified the agreement and 48 have signed. Among those in agreement are Palestine and North Korea. And also, Australia.
But while Australia has agreed to implement their part of the agreement, they have also agreed to building a new $16 billion coal mine in Queensland right near the Great Barrier Reef.
The Adani coal mine, being built by the Carmichael mining giant, is a proposed thermal coal mine which at it’s peak is projected to produce 60 billion tonnes of coal a year. It has been greenlit and building will commence in September 2017.
Many young people have absorbed the news of the Paris agreement and the Adani mine with a sense of helplessness.
But Adam Bandt, the Greens member for Melbourne, says that while young people may feel helpless they “are incredibly powerful, I think people are right to look at what the government and old parties are doing and say why aren’t you fixing the problem of climate change given that it’s going to be young people who are going to bear the brunt of it in a few years time.”
He cites 2010 as a pivotal moment for young people when they voted for the Greens to replace the long held Labour seat of Melbourne and a result “we found ourselves in a position where we could negotiate with the Labor government to have real action on climate change.”
Though young people may feel like they don’t have any power Adam Bandt says through banding together and raising voices it is guaranteed that young people will be heard.
He says, “At the moment the people in parliament probably think that they can take young people for granted, I think it’s time to stand up whether it’s on climate change or housing affordability or the fact that jobs aren’t there in a way that they used to be, it’s time to stand up and say enough is enough and we’re going to start punishing you at the ballot box if you don’t create a better future for us I think there will be a lot of members of parliament who will be very frightened to have young people starting to use their voice.”
Reporter: Jordan Fennell