Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meets with former Labor candidate Julie McGlone at Nambour Plaza.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meets with former Labor candidate Julie McGlone at Nambour Plaza.

CLIMATE SENSE: Rudd hits back at beachfront buy barb


It's good to see John Mikkelsen's fervour for unscientific climate change denialism hasn't diminished in his retirement.

In a letter to this website on Tuesday, John seized on my family's decision to settle into a coastal home here on the Sunshine Coast as evidence that climate change is a hoax being perpetrated by a cabal including me, Barack Obama and Al Gore.

To be clear, my decision to live on the Sunshine Coast - the place where I grew up and that I adore - is an expression of my confidence in our community's future.

It has a bright future economically, culturally, socially and, yes, even environmentally.

The bottom line is that climate change poses an existential threat to humanity.

My fundamental faith in humanity tells me to have confidence in the ability of humans to rise up and overcome existential threats, whether it is war, pandemic or climate change.

Our greatest enemy, however, is complacency.

No reasonable person would argue against a science-driven response to suppressing coronavirus, yet some find it so difficult to apply this same logic to climate change.

The key difference is perhaps that, whereas the virus moves quickly, greenhouse gases build in the atmosphere for decades.

The consequences are, however, equally inescapable.

When I was growing up, Australia experienced extremely high monthly maximum temperatures about 2 per cent of the time; they now occur 12 per cent of the time.

Mid-year rainfall in southwestern Australia has dropped 20 per cent since 1970.

Bushfire seasons are becoming longer and hotter, especially down south, but also in Queensland where rainforests that were previously considered fire-resistant are now susceptible.

The real question for Australians is whether we rise to the challenge now, as similar countries around the world are doing, or wait until the cost of action is extraordinarily high.

Either way, the world must adopt technologies to deliver net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Like John, I am not a climate scientist.

But I listen to scientific bodies like the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the US National Academy of Sciences.

When the world's leading scientific agencies furiously agree on something, it makes sense to listen to them.

KEVIN RUDD, Sunshine Beach