Australia on Fire: Record-Shattering Heat, Wildfires Engulf World’s Largest Exporter of Coal
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ANNA ROSE: Some parts of the media are connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change. And certainly, as climate campaigners and people who try to help people understand what’s happening to our country and to our planet with climate change, we’ve been trying to encourage the movement to have those conversations to be able to connect the dots. But, of course, we have some other elements of the media who simply aren’t making the link at all, and that’s where we need to come and remind people that this is a tragedy, what we’re seeing here in Australia, and we need to be able to come together as a community not just to deal with the short-term impacts, but also to look ahead at what Australia is facing in terms of our extreme weather events, our food security, our health, our infrastructure, and what we can do to reduce our carbon pollution, because, as you say, Australia is the highest per-capita carbon polluter out of all of the OECD countries. And right now, the movement, the climate movement in Australia, is focusing a lot of its attention towards the coal exports issue, particularly in Queensland, where we have two mining billionaires who want to export huge amounts of coal through our Great Barrier Reef. And what we need to be doing instead is developing clean technology and exporting that to the rest of the world.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Anna Rose, very quickly, before we conclude, could you talk a little about your book, Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic, which documents your journey around the world trying to persuade the former Austrian finance minister of climate change science?
ANNA ROSE: I took our former finance minister on a four-week journey around the world. And when we started, he had said that climate change might be happening, but that humans were not responsible, and he was quite opposed to any kind of action on climate change. We traveled for four weeks. I took him to the United States and met some people there, in the U.K. We talked about human rights implications. By the end, I did get him to a point where he said, in his words, "Climate change is happening, and humans have probably caused part of it." And I was also able to convince him, somewhat, of the need to switch to renewable energy, because we need to make this transition right away towards clean energy, towards wind and solar, because if we don’t, we are going to see more and more of these devastating extreme weather events that are hurting not just Australia, but people all around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Anna Rose, we have just 30 seconds. How significant is the position of the United States on the issue of climate change?
ANNA ROSE: It’s incredibly significant. You can’t overestimate how important what America does is for countries like Australia and countries around the world. The rest of the world has started to act on climate change. Europe has been doing it for a long time. In New Zealand, Australia, we have carbon prices now. We certainly have a lot more work to do, but those big steps won’t happen until we get the United States to put a price on carbon, to significantly invest in renewable energy, and to start moving away from fossil fuels.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Anna Rose, I want to thank you very much for being with us, co-founder and chair of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, author of Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic, speaking to us from an extremely hot country right now, the hottest in 80 years. We’re talking to her in Sydney, Australia, with record-shattering temperatures.