Australian of the Year brings climate change message to London
Australians travelling overseas should make the most of their time and offset their carbon emissions, according to Professor Tim Flannery, renowned scientist, author and 2007 Australian of the Year.
Professor Flannery spoke to a group of Australian expatriates about climate change at King’s College in London on World Environment Day last week.
“When I travel overseas I try to do as much as I can at once, and then get back to Australia and try to spend a lengthy time back home before I’ve got to come over again,” he said.
Professor Flannery talked about the impact of water deficits in Australia and how this is affecting major cities. However his main message was the importance of the UN climate summit in 2009, when a new international climate agreement could be made.
“If governments behave as selfishly, stupidly and secretly as they did at the last meeting, the climate change problem will continue,” he said.
Professor Flannery said it’s hard for Australians living overseas to get involved in debate back home, but there are still roles to play.
“One of the great things expats can do is act as a bridge between a country like the UK, which is doing so much, and Australia – so bring ideas back with you. I know it’s not easy to change the world, but there are lots of small things that can be done,” he said.
One small thing Professor Flannery wants people to do is change to more efficient light bulbs, rather than traditional incandescent ones. He said backpackers could do their bit to reduce carbon emissions by carrying compact fluorescent light bulbs and installing them as they travel. Australia has committed to banning incandescent light bulbs by 2010.
Professor Flannery’s visit to London coincided with the launch of his books, including his latest, ‘The Weather Makers’, in paperback in the UK.
Read this story in the Australian Times.