Charles Gutjahr

Melbourne, Australia

Should we forgive those who fail us on climate change?

23 Sep 2019 — a 1 minute read on opinion

Greta Thunberg's article "If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them" makes me wonder: what if those failing us now come good? Should we forgive those who change their mind and start acting on climate change?

I think yes. We should punish those politicians who don't act, but if we continue to punish those who see the light then what is their incentive to change their ways? Bitter pill as it would be I think we need to forgive any politician or other leader who starts taking real action on climate change. The climate doesn't need us to bear a grudge, it needs us to encourage action from everyone in power — regardless of what views they've espoused in the past.

Perhaps fortunately for those of you who enjoy hating on our Federal Coalition government, there's not much to forgive yet. Tony Abbott took us backwards on climate change but you probably never have to forgive him for that as he'll never be in power again. Scott Morrison has notably dialled back the rhetoric by saying he accepts the science on climate change, which is a darn good start. But in reality emissions are increasing under his government and his claim that we'll meet our Kyoto 2020 target in a canter is disingenuous. And it seems his party still can't help making snide comments about people who want real action, for example telling kids they should be in school instead of protesting.

The Liberals and Nationals are only just starting on their conversion to parties that accept the reality of climate change. But if they ever do accept reality and take action then I'll be cheering their conversion. I sure hope they do one day.