RESPECTED weather commentator Rob Gell has used his position as an Australia Day Ambassador to call for Australia to take a leading role in tackling climate change.
Mr Gell was the Australia Day Ambassador at the Moyne Shire Council’s awards ceremony at Nirranda on Sunday.
Mr Gell also received an Order of Australia Medal as part of the national honours day list.
In his address at the awards ceremony he produced a “critical state-of-the-planet” summary drawn from his research.
Included in his summary was that half of the world’s great forests and summer arctic ice have gone, the world has lost a third of its coral reefs, 1.2 billion people lack adequate water and the worldwide bee population is plummeting.
“Australia needs to develop a thirst for change. We are currently trying to do things like we did in 1950,” Mr Gell said.
“We have to change radically in this country and we are one of the few populations on the planet capable of doing that.
“We have a strong democracy, a highly educated community and we have to put ourselves on a war footing to deal with this in the amount of time we have available.
“We have to do our bit in the world even though we only have a small population.” Mr Gell said temperatures around the world are set to rise by 1.6 degrees by 2050 on the current rate of emissions with the current rate at 0.8 of a degree.
He said the heatwave that hit Victoria a couple of weeks ago was a timely reminder of how serious the problem has become.
“Global warming is the biggest issue we face. The thing people don’t understand is it happens so slowly. It’s not like heading towards a tree and turning the wheel to avoid it and you’re right.
“There is a belief when it gets really important we will do something about it then but we have to do it now.
“During that heatwave possums were falling out of the trees. What happens when the temperatures rise even further in the coming years?”
Mr Gell is a director of World Wind Pty Ltd and is a big fan of wind and solar power.
He said arguments that renewable sources of power don’t provide base load power were incorrect.
He said in South Australia 30 per cent of the base load is from renewables and that Australia should be the solar capital of the world.
He challenged the federal government to show leadership on the issue of climate change and take a stand against a campaign to discredit renewable energy sources.
“There are some enormous vested interests in this country who are running an argument that is false and we need to stand up to that. I wish our politicians would do that rather than finding excuses not to make a stand.”