April 12, 2023
The repercussions of climate change have never been more evident than in the last several years. The frequency and destructive power of disasters such as drought, wildfires, and flooding have increased drastically, and individuals around the world are calling out for their government to better safeguard their health and interests.
Australia is one of the many countries forced to contend with the effects of climate change, leading its people to ask more from their government.
From 2019 to 2020, Australia experienced one of the largest bushfires the continent has ever seen, driving environmental concerns to the top of the people’s agenda. The Australian government reported the fire took 33 lives, destroyed over 17 million hectares of land, and more than 1 billion animals were lost.
The disaster left people desperate, turning to their government for help with a subpar response to their cries. Rather than helping his people, the previous Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, was taking vacations in Hawaii. The Australian people voted him out in the following year’s election. Anthony Albanese, the head of the Australian Labor Party, received a majority vote, with a campaign promise to increase the country’s share of renewable energy and greatly increase emission reduction goals.
Fulfilling his promise of moving towards renewable energy, Albanese successfully led the passage of the Climate Change Act of 2022, cementing national goals of reducing Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Germany has had their fair share of disasters over the past few years in the forms of destructive drought and flooding. In 2021, the Ahr River rose by 20 feet and flooded the surrounding valley. The flood claimed 134 lives, injured another 766 people, and damaged over 3,000 buildings within the Ahr Valley. The event was so sudden and severe it inspired protests and a shift in politics.
In the months leading up to the 2021 federal election, the German Green Party saw a massive increase in popularity due to their focus on environmental issues. Their platform was based partially on preventing events like the Ahr flood through a national transition to clean energy. If successful, they hoped to attain climate neutrality by 2040, as opposed to the present 2045 goal. In the end, the Green Party won 118 seats out of 736, the best the party has ever done and a nearly 50% increase over the previous 2017 election.
Later in the year, Germany adapted its new Climate Action Plan for 2030, with goals to move away from coal power and reduce emissions by at least 55%. They want the changes to be broad, targeting all levels of production, transportation, and buildings.
As one of Europe’s largest exporters of natural gas and oil, many of the Norwegian people felt responsible for the disasters and aimed for more environmentally-motivated representatives.
To this end, the people elected Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, head of the Labor Party, in 2021. While the nation economically relies on fuel exports, the Labor Party had plans to domestically and financially offset their contributions to global emissions.
Updated in the year after the election, Norway’s Climate Action Plan now states they intend on being carbon neutral by 2030 by making offsets in agreements and providing support throughout Europe. They also intend on allowing only electric vehicles to be sold domestically by 2025. The world is noticing the climate change problem and taking action. We cannot let ourselves fall behind. With the upcoming Earth Bill, we must take the opportunity to Vote Earth. Take the time to contact your representatives and get their support for the upcoming legislation to safeguard our future.