When leadership fails

Australia is the hottest place on Earth right now. Bushfires are raging across the country destroying homes and habitats, smothering cities in smoke, and taking lives – two volunteer firefighters tragically died this week. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has been holidaying in Hawaii.

Yesterday he realised his mistake and announced he’s returning home.

The Chaser responded with this:

Earlier this month Australia went to the Madrid climate talks and blocked meaningful climate action. This prompted a lot of criticism from around the world: the French environment minister accused the country of cheating for wanting to use emissions credits from the past to meet its climate obligations.

If you want this carryover it is just cheating. Australia was willing in a way to destroy the whole system, because that is the way to destroy the whole Paris agreement.

But there is hope because others are stepping up to fill the leadership void. Former fire chiefs are planning a bushfire summit with or without the Prime Minister,Β Australian businesses, unions, and farmers want a zero-emission climate plan, and the opposition leader was snapped buying supplies for fire service volunteers.

I’ve never seen this before where so many others are doing what ought to be done by the government. It begs the question, how did the government become the government?

I don’t want to pretend that leadership is easy but being present during a crisis and adopting evidence-based policy are pretty fundamental requirements for a good leader. I still feel angry that Australians voted for this and feel ashamed to call myself Australian, hence the rebranding of my blog to a “New Zealander who loves cargo bikes”.

Climate change affects everyone. Even those who contribute very little to the problem or none at all (children of the future) will still bear the cost; a cost that is growing daily because every molecule of carbon dioxide we emit will need to be removed from the atmosphere. With each day and more emissions, the problem becomes harder and harder to solve and more and more expensive.