Our fantastic communications team got together to compose this letter that was sent to all Australian Senators.
Seeking your support for Australia's animals
We write to you as the Chair of Vets for Climate Action (VfCA) and the Convenor of the former Chief Veterinary Officers (fCVOs).
Climate change is an animal health and welfare issue. Severe floods and bushfires, prolonged droughts and heatwaves, rising oceans, loss of habitat and changing disease distribution are already causing death and suffering of the animals we love and need: from our family pets, the livestock on our farms, to our unique and beautiful wildlife.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 is currently taking place, with the key aim of ensuring full implementation of the terms of the Paris Agreement, (the goal of which is to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels). Australia is a signatory to this legally binding international treaty, with a commitment to reducing emissions to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 (and achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050) enshrined in the Climate Change Act 2022 (Cth).
At the opening ceremony, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible". Scientists tell us that current pledges are not enough, that there is “no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place” today.
Yet we must remain hopeful of bequeathing our children and all future generations a world where animals and people thrive in a healthy environment.
Robust climate action now will ensure fewer losses from severe weather events, fewer risks to the health of our people, animals and the environment, clean electricity, employment in a strong, carbon-neutral economy and security for our Pacific neighbours and ourselves.
As veterinarians, who are on the frontline experiencing the impacts of climate change on our animals first hand, we ask you to support the following strategies to mitigate global warming and allow us to adapt to the current, and future, impacts of climate change:
- A rapid transition to renewable energy. Abundant solar, wind, hydro and wave power in Australia will support the decarbonisation of the electricity grid. Modernising the grid, innovative battery developments and community energy hubs are aspects of this evolutionary program. The full potential for green hydrogen should also be explored.
The cessation of approvals of all new fossil fuel projects. We ask you to urge the Minister for Environment and Water to reconsider the first stage of the assessment of all 19 of the pending coal and gas proposals and expansions across the country, currently before her, on the basis that they will contribute further to greenhouse gas emissions.
Tackling the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss together. We ask that you support the full delivery of all recommendations from the independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, vote to adopt the Climate Trigger Bill, and support a fully funded program to protect all threatened species, ending Australia's faunal extinction crisis.
Recognition of Australia as an agricultural leader in the world, with exports respected as carbon safe due to renewable electricity on farms, the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030, the adoption of regenerative agriculture and ongoing work to control ruminant emissions.
- Commitment to a truly integrated ‘One Health’ approach to the government’s proposed Centre for Disease Control. Climate change and habitat disruption are major drivers for the emergence of new diseases, most of which come from animals. The veterinary profession has much to offer in this regard.
Vets for Climate Action would be pleased to provide you with independent advice at any time to aid your work and advance climate action, particularly where it relates to the health and welfare of the animals we love and need: livestock, much loved pets, and wildlife.
Dr Jeannet H Kessels BVSc Hons
Chair, Vets for Climate Action
0402 771 163
Dr Ron Glanville BSc, BVSc, MVS
Convenor, the Former Chief Veterinary Officers Group
0423 018 678