I am a PhD student at the University of Sydney, studying Inorganic Physical Chemistry. I am writing to express my extreme disappointment at your abandonment of climate change legislation.
As a scientist, I simply cannot comprehend how (in your own terms) the "greatest moral challenge of our times" has been swept under the table. The science behind anthropogenic climate change is indisputable, and we must drastically reduce our carbon emissions NOW to mitigate the very worst of effects. For Australia, increasing temperatures is probably the least of our problems: I see ocean acidification (inducing the collapse of fisheries and loss of the Great Barrier Reef), changing rainfall patterns (leading to water and food insecurity) and an increase in extreme weather events (fires, cyclones, etc, leading to millions of dollars in damages) as our major problems.
As a young person (I am only 24), I see the failure of your government on this issue a massive let down for us, the future generations. The longer you delay now, the more serious the problem for me and my peers in the future. Even now, we face a world that will be very different to the one you were bought up in.
I want to see a government with a vision for the future - one that is not just looking toward the next election. I want to see a government with the courage to be longsighted, to make important but perhaps unpopular decisions and who will invest in the future. I do not see either you or the opposition (who, let's face it, are even worse on this issue) doing such a thing.
Australia could be a global leader in regards to anthropogenic climate change: in introducing legislation for the reduction of CO2, in investing in alternate energies (solar, nuclear, wind, geothermal and photovoltaic), in actively integrating them into the grid, and in exporting those same technologies.
So my question to you, Mr Rudd, is this:
Are you going to step up to the plate? Are you going to be a world leader in dealing with anthropogenic climate change and be courageous enough to push for longsighted policies that will save our economy, our environment and our future?
Or are you going to leave my generation to Hell and High Water?