The heat is on

Anthony Albanese

Climate change is real, it's hurting us now and the federal government continues to turn a blind eye.

The 10 hottest years on record have all been since 1990. Average global temperatures have risen by 0.6 degrees over the past century.

Evidence continues to mount of the likely human and economic toll of continued warming - from heat waves in Europe to severe storms in Asia and the Americas.

Australians can already see the kind of impact that will only get worse as climate change hits home: many of our big cities and towns are experiencing severe and prolonged water shortages; up to 75 per cent of the red gums on the Murray River flood plains are sick or dying; and coral bleaching has damaged significant parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

The impact of climate change is of such a scale that it can only be tackled by global action. And what does the Howard government do? It stands apart from the international community and says we'll leave that difficult job to you.

The Howard government has failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. It has failed to develop a national climate change action plan. It has rejected greenhouse emissions trading. It has rejected a strong clean energy industry.

Worst of all, greenhouse emissions continue to skyrocket under the Howard government. According to the Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia's greenhouse emissions will actually increase by 23 per se by 2020. This is happening while other governments are setting long term targets to dramatically cut greenhouse emissions.