Emergency Leaders for Climate Action is a growing coalition of former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders representing every fire service in Australia, a number of SES and land management agencies, communicating the seriousness of the climate change threat, calling for government action on emissions and the necessary resources to better prepare fire and emergency services for increasingly frequent and damaging extreme weather events.
What we need is for governments and leadership to start listening to the experts. Listen to those that are informed and have seen what’s happening across the landscape, listening to the science and responding to what’s happening with climate change and taking action on emissions reductions across the country.
We felt we had a duty to tell people how climate change is super-charging our natural disaster risks. I wish we were wrong, but we’re not.
Key events + achievements
10.04.2019Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) is formedA group of 23 former emergency service leaders led by former commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue Greg Mullins, writes to the Federal Government, alerting them to the threat of “increasingly catastrophic extreme weather events” and calling on both major parties to recognise the need for “national firefighting assets”, including large aircraft, to deal with the scale of the threat. ELCA launches a joint statement in The Australian and The Age Newspapers.
16.09.2019ELCA writes again to PMEmergency Leaders for Climate Action write again to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking why the Government has not yet given them a meeting.
29.11.2019Greg Mullins writes to Minister David Littleproud to express deep concernGreg Mullins writes to Minister David Littleproud to express deep concern about the ferocity of the unfolding bushfire crisis. The letter includes 20 recommendations from Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, for an appropriate Federal Government response to the crisis.
3.12.2019ELCA meets with David Littleproud and Angus TaylorEmergency chiefs travel to Canberra to meet with Minister David Littleproud and Minister Angus Taylor.
17.12.2019 ELCA announces summitEmergency Leaders for Climate Action say they will hold a summit after the current bushfire season because of their “huge disappointment in the lack of national leadership during a bushfire crisis”. It comes as fires rage across New South Wales and Western Australia, and as Australia is named as one of a handful of countries responsible for thwarting a global deal on the rulebook of the Paris Climate Agreement.
2.1.2020 PM acknowledges link between climate change and fire conditionsAt a press conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s “always acknowledged the link … between the broader issues of global climate change and what that means for the world’s weather and the dryness of conditions in many places” but that “no response by any one government anywhere in the world can be linked to any one fire event”.
11.3.2020 Climate Council releases comprehensive overview of 2019-20 bushfire seasonClimate Council releases a report, Summer of Crisis, the first comprehensive overview of the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced over the summer 19/20. The report finds that climate change fuelled Australia’s devastating Black Summer, and that the bushfires are estimated to have spewed between 650 million and 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to the annual emissions from commercial aircraft worldwide and far higher than Australia’s annual emissions of around 531 million tonnes.
Our statement and call for urgent action
Emergency Leaders for Climate Action formed in April 2019 to call on the Prime Minister and all Australian Federal, State and Territory Governments to take urgent action to address the serious climate change threat.
Our initial joint statement called for better resourcing for emergency services and strong action to reduce emissions from burning coal, oil and gas.