2019: The year that will define Australia on climate change

As we gather with friends and family for Christmas tomorrow, let’s celebrate and take stock of the year that was, but also reflect on what’s in store for the year ahead.

In 2018, we have seen unprecedented bushfires ravage Queensland, razing tropical rainforest, while drought has crippled much of New South Wales. 

Australia has always been a land of droughts and flooding rains, but climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and more severe.

Meanwhile, the federal government is missing in action when it comes to climate and energy policy.

In 2019, Australians will head to the polls. The next federal election will be influenced by many factors, but arguably the most important will be around energy and climate.

Successive governments have been torn apart due to conflict over emission reduction targets and poorly designed climate policy. The recent Wentworth byelection and the Victorian poll show that Australians are sick and tired of it.

Polling shows that Australians want action on climate change.

We are the sunniest country in the world and one of the windiest. We want to use these natural resources to power our country. The world’s biggest battery in South Australia shows that we can store clean power, and use it anytime.

And let’s turn our attention to the Adani coal mine now. Despite the warnings and knowledge about coal, carbon emissions and climate change, this project has still remained afloat.

Next year will define our country as one that either continues to encourage the burning of fossil fuels – or finally puts this policy to rest.

What can we do to change our country’s path in 2019?

Supporting groups that fight for climate action is the best way to establish a collective movement for change.

The more people that fight for our collective well-being, the more likely our government will be forced to act.  

You can also help by casting your vote at the next election as one for our future. Take some time to read up on parties and their climate policy, and help support those that will tackle climate change for years to come.

We are in control of our own future. Let’s learn from our mistakes in 2018 and use our collective voice to demand an end to climate chaos and a transition to a sustainable future, both next year and for the future of generations to come.

Amanda McKenzie is the chief executive of the Climate Council.