Drought-stricken farmers are challenging Prime Minister Scott Morrison's suggestion that they don’t care ‘one way or the other’ about whether human-induced global warming is to blame for the long dry.
The Australian Conservation Foundation has financed a new TV ad featuring farmers who say human-induced global warming has contributed to the ongoing drought, and are calling on the Morrison government to take tougher action to lower emissions.
The 30-second ad, slated to air during primetime this week and during the upcoming NRL Grand Final, is designed to challenge Mr Morrison’s argument that drought-affected regional communities are not interested in a “debate” about climate change, and just want practical assistance.
The Coalition dropped its plan to legislate a 26 per cent emissions reduction target for the energy sector in the dying days of the Turnbull government.
The Morrison government remains committed to the international Paris targets in principle, but no longer has any plans to impose them in law.
“Climate change is making the droughts more severe,” Longreach sheep and cattle farmer Jody Brown said in the ad.
“We need to stick to the Paris agreement, we need to stop burning coal and we need to commit to more renewable energy.”
The ads will air on commercial TV channels in the three largest capital cities.
Mr Morrison started his prime ministership with a visit to drought-affected areas in Queensland, where he said he would leave the debate about climate change “for another day”.
“I don't think people out here care one way or the other,” he said in August.
“I don't think that's the issue.
“It's not a debate I've participated a lot in, in the past, because I'm practically interested in the policies that will address what is going on here, right now.”
Shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon addressed Labor’s Country Conference in Forster over the weekend.
“Labor can’t win government at either the state or national level if we don’t hold the requisite number of regional seats,” he told the conference.
A Shorten government would “take serious action on climate change”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.