Being from India, I’ve watched my country and my family be consistently hit by natural disasters that are increasing in severity and frequency. In 2022 alone, India experienced first a brutal and lengthy heatwave, that saw birds falling dead out of the sky and rubbish tips catching fire. Less than three months later, it was underwater.

In India, only 13% of people have access to air conditioning. The country lacks the resources needed to safeguard citizens and take proactive, mitigative action on climate change.

Here, across the ocean, the Australian government has just passed their historic Climate Change bill, committing to a target of reducing emissions by 43% by the end of this decade. They’ve taken credit for bringing the climate wars to an end.

But I speak for all young people when I say we aren’t interested in rhetoric, if it doesn’t come with substantial action.

I’m talking about the 26 coal mine applications sitting on the newly minted Environment Minister’s desk. We’ve been told that any that “stack up economically and environmentally,” will be approved.

You need to look no further than Lismore, let alone across the ocean to India, to know that today, none do.

So while the Climate Change Bill warrants a pass mark for action on climate change, this is not enough. This bill must be nothing less than a foundation upon which to build.

We must place a moratorium on approving any new fossil fuel projects. Independent bodies such as the International Energy Agency are too calling for all new coal and gas to stay in the ground.

We also must take responsibility for Scope 3 emissions, those caused by the burning of coal we export. But as it stands, we find it all too easy to wash our hands of this substantial portion of our climate impact.  

As young people, we call on our government to honour its moral duty to protect us from the impacts of climate change. To ensure that the world we inherit is not one plagued by constant natural disasters, and vast numbers of climate refugees. Instead, that it provides us with an environment of safety, security and prosperity, in which we can forge our lives.