Climate Change? I Don’t Know Her.

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Words || Shivani Srivastava

Scott Morrison’s not a regular mum, he’s a cool mum— and it shows. Scott Morrison, or ScoMo, is #relatable and everything in between. Throwing enough shade to reverse global warming, he’s the well-rounded, good old Aussie bloke; he can drink a beer, banter with the lads and even go for an Engadine Maccas run. 

Morrison’s re-election campaign started with a big blue bus, stamped with slogans for a ‘stronger economy’ and a ‘secure future’, approved with a flash of his pearly whites on the side. He’s also no stranger to using catchy slogans on non-vehicular mediums. You might hear him saying fun statements such as ‘stop the boats’ and ‘jobs and growth’ when asked about certain issues. At the end of last year, it was reported that Morrison even changed his signature to ‘ScoMo’ to forever immortalise his relatability. Although world leaders using catchy slogans to gain a following is not something new or unique to ScoMo, we would be remiss to not acknowledge the most talented political poet in all his unmatched wisdom, Donald Trump. When he’s not carefully crafting ‘covfefe’ tweets, Donald Trump and our very own ScoMo are busy not attending the Global Climate Summit. In September this year, Morrison snubbed the Climate Summit held in New York, to attend a Trump campaign meet-up in Chicago. ScoMo was unfortunately, out-snubbed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who did not invite Australia to speak at the summit. This decision came after Guterres stated that as Australia was not doing enough to meet the Paris Agreement commitments by 2030 and 2050, Australia would not be invited to speak. 

For those who have forgotten, a few days prior to the Summit, approximately 300,000 Australians marched to protest the government’s apathy toward committing to climate change policies. It was shortly after these protests that Scott Morrison bravely decided not to attend the Summit to discuss Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. For a quick recap: the Paris Agreement originated in December 2015 where parties agreed to forward their best efforts to reduce their carbon emissions. This would require regular reporting and reassessment every five years to ensure each country is reaching their goals. While the federal government insists we are on track to meeting those goals, the UN, China, most of Europe, the Pacific Island Nations and my mum feel otherwise. 
Australia has received significant criticism from climate change experts that we are not doing enough as a developed nation to meet our climate change goals. Currently, Australia is one of the highest carbon dioxide emitting countries per capita. In Australia, nine of the ten hottest years recorded have occurred after 2005. Last summer was our hottest recorded summer and last year Australia experienced what was described as ‘the worst drought in living memory’. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Scott Morrison commented that Australia is doing every little bit in meeting our climate change goals and that the media is casting Australia’s efforts in a negative light. He stressed that we are cleaning up our oceans and reducing our plastics. In response, climate change scientists in Australia have gone on record that they believe ScoMo is distracting us from the real issues, such as our carbon dioxide emissions, by focusing on our belated strides to reduce plastic consumption. The issue is that we can be doing a lot better.

ScoMo might be doing his best to seem relatable, whether it’s a chill selfie on his relatable Facebook account, making a cute joke about Maccas related bowel movements or connecting with your homophobic grandpa over marriage equality, it seems the federal government does not fully contemplate the current climate situation as an emergency. This comes after more than 60 jurisdictions and councils within Australia have declared a climate change emergency including the City of Sydney Council and the Australian Capital Territory, hoping to pressure the federal government to react accordingly. Although Australia is known for being laid back and easy going, it is vital that we continue to rigorously hold our leaders to a standard at which they address the issues pertinent to their constituents. While ScoMo cultivates a fragile image of a relatable Aussie bloke, it is important to remember that drought and climate skepticism is not #relatable.