Volume 132 The Royal Society of Queensland, Presidential Address

Quinn, N (2023)


Before the 2022 Federal election, people were intrigued about the ‘climate action now’ signs popping up all over the place. No doubt different people interpreted the ‘climate action now’ concept in many different ways. My aim with this address is to canvass some history illuminating how Australia has gone from acceptance of the need for action, decades of fruitless debate and now pallid action on the issues over the last 35 years or so. I have been directly involved in climate change issues since the 1987 CSIRO sponsored conference on the implications of the changing atmosphere (Pearman, 1988). Now I am directly involved again, with the Royal Society’s work on whether Queensland’s planning arrangements are fit for purpose for coping with climate change, and as a member of the Steering Committee for ETHOS, the Griffith University program aimed at helping protect against health problems from heatwaves. My other aim is to contribute to where to go from here so that we continue to increase our understanding of the science, learn to live with the changes already under way and increase our resilience to future changes. I emphasise rural issues, as rural decline has been much discussed in recent years and there is an obvious link with climate change issues.