Tens of thousands of people braved the heat in cities across the nation on Sunday to show their anger at so many years of inaction on climate change. And with so much talk about the Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading and various low-impact but distracting thingy-me-jigs you could be forgiven for getting hopeful. Maybe, just maybe this election would be the one when the major parties started putting the planet first.

But if this election has taught us anything it’s that you should never smile at a crocodile, because once again the talk is exactly that – just talk.

Next week we will hear from the world’s top climate scientists (the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that the state of the planet is dire and we have no time to waste. But despite all the rhetoric, neither party has even committed to the reductions needed to prevent dangerous climate change. Neither party has had the guts to stand up to the coal industry to save our planet.

Yesterday John Howard made his position on climate change abundantly clear in his official election launch when he talked about the need to protect “the great coal industry”. And despite pledging to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and to introduce a renewable energy target of 20% by 2020, Rudd’s policies like Howard’s will see Australia’s greenhouse emissions continue to skyrocket.

Renewable energy targets that merely see wind farms grow alongside more coal plants are not sufficient. We need policies that see renewables replace coal. We need a leader with enough vision to start phasing out coal plants, starting with the oldest and dirtiest.

Instead what we get is a lot of blah, blah. And meanwhile 11 new coal projects are either under way or planned, which will see electricity sector emissions increase by 10% over current levels. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to end our addiction with coal.

Links to briefings:

Watch our video interview with climatologist Dr Melanie Fitzpatrick next Monday 12 November https://www.greenpeace.org.au/