Culture

Waleed Aly Rips Into Andrew Bolt; Calls For Australia To Quit Embarrassing Itself On Climate Change

"The world is watching our next move, so now is not the time for our leaders just to walk away."

This week Australia continued its fine tradition of gloriously face-planting on the world stage by ranking third-last in an annual assessment of the world’s nations’ climate change policies. The results of the Climate Change Performance Index were released yesterday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and we were pat on the back for destroying the world slightly less than renowned eco-warriors Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.

This was actually an improvement from last year’s results where we came second-last.

TAKE THAT, KAZAKHSTAN.

This also came just days after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull walked away from a widely-supported pledge to get rid of subsidies on fossil fuels. Though he’s been outspoken on the need for action on climate change in the past, and had recently pledged $1 billion over the next five years to battle it, Turnbull outright rejected an agreement to ditch a system which directly benefits those contributing to the problem.

This is something the Walkley-nominated co-writing team of Waleed Aly and Tom Whitty took issue with on The Project tonight.

“We’ve literally been called the ‘worst performing industrial country in the world’ when it comes to tackling climate change,” Aly says. “There’s no doubt identifying the diesel tax rebate as a fossil fuel subsidy is a political nightmare for our PM. He’s inherited a government from a guy who told us ‘coal is good for humanity’, and there remain a lot of backbenchers who continue to believe that. Some of them also believe it will cost jobs, but I don’t agree. I think it will create them.”

After outlining the tangible ways investment in renewable energy could directly benefit the economy instead of harm it, Aly went on to speak about the need to act on this now, and why we shouldn’t be persuaded by ignorant people or those with vested interests who say otherwise.

“Let me nip this in the bud. Andrew Bolt, before you launch into your whole ‘the planet has stopped warming’ line that you’ve been running for the past few years. This is Carl Mears, the guy whose graph you keep using. We tracked him down. He has a message for you.”

Put simply: Bolt is wrong.

“We can’t go on denying that climate change is real, and can’t continue to find emotional or even incorrect reasons not to act on it,” Aly says. “We stopped subsidising the local car industry when we realised it had no future. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was a choice we were prepared to make. If we don’t stop subsidising fossil fuels, then it’s us, our children, their children, whose futures will be in doubt.

“We know the world is watching our next move, so now is not the time for our leaders just to walk away.”