Climate change, global warming, climate crisis, climate emergency… all names for the one thing no one wants to talk about. Do you know of the issue but not really care? Do you purposely not read the news to live in denial or avoid sinking into a depression about how bad the climate crisis is? Do you find it is all too easy for society to state what is good and bad but have not a clue what it all means? Same, girl.

On March 3rd, 2023, there was a global strike calling for climate action from our governments. This protest was led by Fridays For Future, an organisation created by the one and only, Greta Thunberg. This March, their campaign was #tomorrowistoolate and pushed against governments with their plans for fossil fuel production once more.

We’ve all heard that fossil fuels are bad but what even are they? Firstly, they are decomposed animals and plants found in the Earth’s crust from many years ago, hence the word “fossil”. This includes oil, coal, and natural gas that carry hydrogen and carbon which are burned for energy. Natural gas sounds the best of them all, right? Wrong. Natural gas is primarily made up of methane (also bad for the environment). Both carbon and methane trap heat in the atmosphere (although methane does a much better and harmful job than carbon dioxide), then Earth gets too hot, ice melts, etc… We know the rest.

Lastly, fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource.

Science experts like CDP, (Customer Data Platform: Non-for-profit charity that manages environmental data) confirm fossil fuels are the biggest contributor to the climate crisis. To be specific; 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions are formed by the burning of fossil fuels.

If I can search all this on the internet, I’m sure the government has access to much more information and yet still continues to invest in fossil fuel production and fails to provide alternative solutions. See why people are angry? If you are anything like me, you might see policy changes and the government on the news and have no idea how to understand the political language.

Let me explain in simpler terms the political result from this protest. A few weeks after the global strike, the Greens came to an agreement with Labour and called it the Safeguard Mechanism. The Safeguard Mechanism requires Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters (coal producers, steelmakers and airlines, etc.) to keep their net emissions below a limit. It requires those companies to cut, or pay offsets, to reduce their emissions by 4.9 per cent each year until 2030. Why is this good? Here’s the impact of Safeguard:

  • Two new coal projects in the Northern territory are delayed due to the new arrangement.
  • “116 coal and gas projects” will be stopped, says Adam Brandt, the Greens leader, as they won’t be able to operate whilst remaining under the emissions limit.
  • It will cap the emissions of Australia’s 215 heaviest-polluting companies.

You cannot talk about the climate crisis without it involving politics. It is a political issue, health issue, and global issue. In saying that, it’s easy to hear all the bad things and feel pessimistic about the world and the way we are headed. Sometimes, it’s important to hear the good things and, combining this with the ban on single-use plastics, Australia is beginning a transition for a better future and better world. For once.

Sami Peters

Sami Peters

Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.