Hugh Riminton: We Are A Burning Nation Led By Cowards

Among those determined to do nothing about climate change, the arguments have shifted over time. 

We know them all too well. But here’s a reminder.

1. It’s a hoax.

2. It’s corruption. Climate scientists are scammers getting rich on grants.

3. It’s a mental illness. People reflecting the science are “alarmists”, “warmists” and “catastrophists” recklessly damaging the mental health of children.

4. It’s something we can’t talk about -- especially when the weather and bushfires are behaving precisely as the science predicted they would behave.

The trouble is, across the country people who have believed this stuff are having to swap their tinfoil hats for fire helmets. The predictions of the scientists are playing out exactly to the script. Reality is biting.

Bushfires are behaving precisely as the science predicted they would behave. (Image: Getty)

Now the coal lobby and its many paid-up mates have a new argument:

“Not even if Australia completely de-industrialised could we make the slightest difference.”

And broadly speaking, that’s true. Our emissions, at less than two percent of global totals, will not be decisive in the fight. Therefore, it follows, we can change nothing. So let’s sprout new coal mines all over Queensland, and leave the issue to someone else.

And how gutless would that be?

In a nation that rightly reveres its ANZAC ideals, here’s a reminder: Australia has never beaten any deadly threat on our own.

We didn’t defeat Nazi Germany on our own.

But we did join the fight.

We didn’t defeat Japanese imperialism on our own.

But -- by heaven -- we were in the fight.

We did what we should be doing now. Seeking allies wherever we can find them, goading them into action, showing our willingness for the fight, and getting stuck in.

The sacrifices being asked of us in combating a warming planet are nothing compared with the sacrifices our men and women gave in two World Wars.

From Canberra? Nothing. (Image: Getty)

This is not a green issue. It should be a galvanising call for Australian patriots everywhere -- one that binds farmers with those in country towns, and all those in the teeming suburbs of our cities.

But from Canberra: nothing.

Where are the Curtins and the Menzieses? Where’s the national bloody leadership?

We are a burning nation led by cowards. It’s time we all got a lot more angry about it. And then looked each other in the eye, shook hands, and got on with it.

Listen to Hugh Riminton and Peter Van Onselen discuss the bushfire situation and the government's reaction on the latest episode of The Professor and The Hack

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