“The recent debate around the Clean Energy Finance Corporation means this crossroads has a major roadblock. As Australia’s national elections (due to take place on September 14th) near, politicians and Australian voters need to remember whose future they are shaping at the polls: that of young people and future generations.” Award winning environmental campaigner and member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition Dan Spencer tells us more.
Re-posted with minor edit’s, with author’s permission fromAdelaide Now.
Nowhere is this better seen than inPort Augusta, where the town’s ageing coal-fired power stations are coming to the end of their life and the community, backed by people across the state, is campaigning for a solar thermal replacement.
The recent debate around the Clean Energy Finance Corporation means this crossroads has a major roadblock. As Australia’s national elections (due to take place on September 14th) near, politicians and Australian voters need to remember whose future they are shaping at the polls: that of young people and future generations.
Sadly, one of the issues being most politicised this election will directly impact on the lives of young people: how we choose to act on climate change. Not only is support for action on climate change increasingly divided along party lines, there is a stark gap between old and young.
Polling released in the past few days by Essential Research made this divide clear. Among under-35s, 52 per cent of people support carbon pricing and only 25 per cent oppose it. This is remarkably resilient majority support for a policy that has been consistently denigrated since it was introduced.
Sadly, this level of support is not reflected in people over 55, where only 39 per cent support carbon pricing, with 56 per cent opposed.
Essential’s poll reflects the Climate Institute’s 2012 Climate of the Nation report, which also found an age gap in commitment to cutting carbon pollution.
These results show young people are looking further into the future on these issues. Considering the long-term benefits of moving from coal to renewable energy, it isn’t hard to see why.
This election, young people can provide a moral voice highlighting the need for long-term thinking on climate and critical investment in our future. The recent debate around funding for renewable energy projects demonstrates why this youth perspective is vital.
Over recent weeks the federal Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt, and the Coalition have stepped up their campaign against the CEFC, a $10 billion fund established to facilitate smart investment in renewable energy. This attack will foster further uncertainty around such investment.
The Coalition has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the need for certainty in the emerging clean-energy sector and a disregard for the future of young people who will pay the price if Australia refuses to step up meaningful action on climate change.
Similarly, the Labor Party needs to demonstrate a willingness to defend its current policies. Young people want political leaders to raise ambition on climate.
Attacking renewable energy funding and climate policy is both a moral and strategic mistake.
Renewable energy remains consistently popular in the community, as demonstrated by recent polling commissioned by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which showed 85 per cent of people in a key Liberal-held South Australian electorate think investment in renewable energy is important for our future.
More than 70 per cent support building a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta.
On September 14, young people will be looking to our leaders to step up and take serious action on renewables funding and climate change. We want Australia’s energy policy to be focused on the future, not the next election cycle.
We want to build an Australia that is smart, competitive and equipped for a changing economy. This is why the voice of young Australians must be heard this election.
Featured Image Credit: Reuters via Myanmar Business Today