'A path to a zero carbon future' – former Midnight Oil frontman talks climate action

The former frontman of Midnight Oil is the latest to call for "real, concrete action" to help mitigate the effects of climate change. 

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Australian politician Peter Garrett joined Breakfast to discuss how to mitigate the climate crisis. Source: Breakfast

The Australian politician joined TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning from Taranaki, where he spoke at the Government's Just Transitions summit last night.

Mr Garrett said during his keynote speech that "the climate crisis is not something that's happening in the future – it's happening now; that the national interests of countries like Australia and New Zealand is directly jeopardised and threatened if we don’t start to take real, concrete action; and that there's no time for complacency or incremental steps."

"The science that's coming in is validating what we felt and thought for some time, and that is that we’re in danger of losing control – and it sounds incredible but it’s true – of Earth's climate.

"I'm really saying good process that you've got underway here, fair bit of work to do, but there's no room at all for complacency – it's not business as usual. We're in a period of great crisis."

The environmental activist added that a "radical change" is needed for people to stop seeing natural resources as finite in the same way we see economic growth as limitless.

"I think the growth model is broken, and I saw it in Government. Midnight Oil just spent time travelling overseas … and you can see signs of it everywhere, and we need a radical change in the way in which we basically think about the things that we're doing as human communities, whether it's locally, whether it's nationally or whether it's globally."

He also said there is "nothing to stop us transforming to a zero carbon economy."

"We've got the technologies, we've got the innovation and here in New Zealand, you've got a real good can-do attitude, so it is possible.

"In many ways, when you think about it, the only thing that's holding us back is the fact that particularly fossil fuel industries have had their hand up and we've had denial, we’ve had obfuscation, and we've had lack of action because people's financial interests are threatened.

"That can't go on any longer and I can see a path to a low carbon future, a zero carbon future, and it's one where people are employed; it's one where we’re driving electric cars; it's one where we've got solar panels on our roofs; and those sorts of things are already starting, but we need to accelerate those things rapidly now.”