By Joe Montero
The Australia government won’t release the climate crisis report from the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) it has in its hands and insists that this is for national security reasons. Surely, even if national security is the problem, a redacted version could still be released. But even this has been refused. This suggests that there is another reason for the secrecy.
Perhaps it is the prospect of political fallout from evidence that far too little is still being done to prevent catastrophic climate change? The Albanese government’s policy might be an improvement on that of the previous Morrison Coalition government’s response. But this doesn’t mean that it’s enough, and there is plenty of evidence out on the public domain showing that this is the case.
This year, the hottest on record, has seen extreme weather events break put across the planet like never before. Rising ocean temperatures are part of the problem. No continent has been left unaffected. Australia has experienced an unusually warm winter and the possibility of another hot, dry, and high fire risk summer.
Australia’s surface and water temperatures have been rising for decades
The bottom line is that the planet is getting warmer, and this poses a major and multidimensional threat.
A report released by US intelligence agencies in 2021 warned that “intensifying physical effects” of climate change will “exacerbate geopolitical flashpoints, particularly after 20230, and key countries and regions will face increasing risks of instability…“
Perhaps the national security aspect of the buried Australian reports refers to this and how it impacts on Australia’s diplomatic and military actions? Is this going to escalate Australia’s military expenditure and contribution to arms race and rising global tensions? The performance so far doesn’t give grounds for confidence that any other response is intended. the response will be any other.
Curiously, in a speech just made at the Australian National University, the incoming new governor of this is broadly in line with e Reserve Bank, Michelle Bullock, said that “climate change and the actions taken in response will have broad-ranging implications for the economy, the financial system and society at large,” and that “the timing and intensity of effects are uncertain, and these could be severe and irreversible if tipping points are reached.”
This is broadly in line with what has been released about the contents of the government’s report, namely, that climate change poses “profound” risks, from billions of dollars in lost productivity, and financial disruptions.
But what about the likelihood of failing food production and the continued ability of Australia to feed our population? What about the impact on the water supply on what is already the world’s driest inhabited continent? Does the 80-page report give some insight into these threats? What about the threat to jobs, the risk of pollical instability, and the prospect on an escalating death rate?
This tells us that catastrophic climate change will destroy the economy, along the road to threatening the planet we depend on for our continuing existence.
The prospect of these outcomes becoming real will make any government nervous. The response of a government is can either keep citizens in the dark or be open and rely on their willing participation in applying solutions. Australian governments have till now embraced the first option and run away from the second one. In doing so, they have eroded trust in them.
Dealing with climate change requires an effort by all of us, working together, and this isn’t going to happen as long as the government remains closely connected to and supportive of the fossil fuel industry. This is the road to disaster.
There are good reasons why Australia must insist on far more transparency and action. After all, it is our collective heads that are on the block, and we have a right to protect ourselves and the world on which we depend for our survival.
Anthony Albanese must release the report for a start.