Australia has a complicated relationship with climate change. On the one hand, it’s at the forefront of climate changes – as demonstrated by recent bushfires, floods (and the drought before them). On the other, the country and economy has a heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
Addressing this existential threat is complicated by its convergence with two other crises – escalating inequality and the breakdown of trust in democracy.
The majority of Australians acknowledge there’s a problem and want climate action, but we are divided as vulnerable communities make clear that after decades of deregulation and globalisation they are in no mood to once again pay the highest price for economic change. And increasingly people across our democracy distrust our political leaders to be able to deliver major reform for the common good.
The imperative to act on climate is a matter of human survival but with Just Transition measures for workers and communities it can also offer jobs, security and with hope rebuild trust in democracy.
Climate policy has destabilised Australian politics (and leaders) for over a decade. Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary and former President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions will offer insights into global shifts around both climate policy and technology to illustrate what can be done when governments, employers and unions work together to create opportunity out of the climate crisis.
In this event Ms Burrow will be joined by Professor Ross Garnaut, Distinguished Professor of Economics, and author of the 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review and most recently Superpower: Australia's Low Carbon Opportunity; and Dr Frances Flanagan from the University of Sydney.