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Climate Change

Older people, like many Australians, are concerned about climate change, viewing it as a significant and real threat to our national interests and livelihood. Our Statement of Interest on Climate Change outlines our commitments to climate change action.

older person walking dog in nature

COTA SA takes the threat of climate change seriously and has committed to join the movement for action on climate change. COTA SA aims to:

  • Facilitate learning about why climate change matters, how climate change impacts lives and what can be done.
  • Reflect the concerns of older people to support action on climate change.
  • Learn from and share stories of older people taking action on climate change.
  • Partner with other generations and organisations to support their work, find opportunities for collaboration and increase the influence and opportunities of older people to tackle climate change.

Statement of Interest on Climate Change

Older people, like many Australians, are concerned about climate change. Older South Australians, like other generations, see climate change as a significant and real threat to our national interests.

COTA SA's research indicate that older South Australians have reviewed the science and have seen the impact of climate change often firsthand. There is a prevailing view that the scale of the crisis has not yet been met with an adequate response from our leaders despite the consequences of inaction.

Watch the launch of the Statement of Interest on Climate Change

We launched the Statement and shared the findings of the consultation through the webinar, Generations Together for our Climate, which was hosted in collaboration with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) — signifying the importance of an intergenerational approach to tackling climate change.

The recording of our intergenerational webinar in collaboration with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) also features guest speakers Dr John Hewson, Sam James and Hollee McKinnon together with the findings from our survey of older South Australians, which helps form the basis of our work in this area.

Watch the video by clicking the play button on the image to the right. Running time one hour.

Climate Change Group

Our Climate Change Group is made up of older South Australians and offers a program of activities to meet the objectives outlined in the Statement of Interest.

Important updates

Report June 2022

Through our surveys and consultations, older South Australians have told us they want information about further steps they can take to make a difference and have a positive impact. The COTA SA Climate Change Group has been active in progressing a number of strategies to explore different actions older people can take, including using their connections to Australian businesses to encourage them to move to Net Zero.

All older South Australians have connections to businesses in Australia through purchasing goods and services, investing in businesses through shares or superannuation and using banks to manage their finances. These businesses want our relationship with them to continue. We, in turn, are impacted by the decisions they make to reduce carbon emissions.

The COTA SA Climate Change Group wanted to exercise its customer power and find out more. It started by setting up meetings with seven SA-based companies that are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) to discuss their commitment to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050, how they are going to achieve that target, and how they would ensure that their shares would retain value through the journey.

This report outlines the steps taken by the Climate Change Group, what they found and practical steps that others can take.

Read the Report: ACTING ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Choosing where to spend and invest

Climate Change Survey Results

In late 2021/early 2022 we surveyed older South Australians about how they felt about climate change, the steps they have taken to reduce their environmental impact and interest in buying an electric vehicle.

The survey results reinforced that well over 80% of older South Australians are very concerned about climate change. Respondents weren’t just concerned for themselves and the significant impact on their health. It’s the impact on future generations and the planet that had them most worried with 90% stating these concerns.

Many older people are already personally active in the current waste and consumption reduction strategies. They expect to do this heavy lifting and see Governments’ role to support you to do it, as they’re doing with solar panels and batteries and recycle and green waste bins; the infrastructure, the subsidies, and the education.

So what action are our survey respondents looking to take next? The survey results indicate that they are active in considering electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar batteries. But particularly electric vehicles, where 67% of respondents would consider buying an electric vehicle for their next car, but purchase price and charging stations are barriers to buying one.

The next steps that need to be taken by Governments are clear. If they want to win the hearts and minds of older people, sort out electric vehicle prices and charging so that this climate-concerned generation can take their next steps in climate change action.

While the results are yielded from a small sample size, they are consistent with other local and international studies seeking to understand the attitudes and expectations of people in relation to climate change. The insights from our survey will help COTA SA’s Climate Change Group to set its priorities for 2022.

Climate Change Group Steering Committee Update — November 2021

Since our workshop the expanded Climate Change Group (CCG) Steering Committee has been progressing our agreed project work. We agreed to work on three fronts:

  • Approach companies regarding their plans and targets
  • Consider approaches to discuss energy policies in the light of the SA Government Climate Change Action Plan
  • Plan a future webinar.

It was agreed that we crawl before we walk, and effort has been put into the first of these projects with approaches to specific companies.

It has been encouraging in recent months to see significant and increasing concern expressed by business and investors to act on their responsibility to address climate change.

As the basis for framing appropriate approaches, the Climate Change Group arranged a zoom meeting with Andrew Gray who is the lead player on environmental Sustainability and Governance at Australian Super and in 2017. He was also the cofounder of Climate Action 100+ which, as a peak body, has developed and implemented a thorough set of indicators which monitor the progress to Paris Net Zero by 2050 of the more than 160 firms that together generate over 80% of industrial emissions.

Letters have been sent for the CCG by the CE, COTA SA, to the Chairs of four key south Australian based industries - ARGO, Beach Energy, OZ Minerals and Santos. The CCG has requested meetings to discuss the respective companies positions about their progress to Net Zero and the framework of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the next week Andrew McNaughton will follow up with these organisations to seek meeting times.

During discussion at the most recent Climate Change Group meeting, potential topics for the next webinar were canvassed. We recommend a focus on providing options for older people about investing in an environmentally sustainable way through their super funds or more general investment possibilities. We also propose a focus on initiatives from local councils in the area of environmental living including the critical need for tree canopy. We are keen too to get other suggestions for future webinars.

The Group will continue the underpinning themes from the workshop including ‘Think global, act local’ given that many people are overwhelmed by the enormity of the climate change challenge and want to find useful ways to make a difference. In terms of possible projects, we noted the South Australian Government`s Climate Change Action Plan 2021–25.

We will consider strategies to address ways the COTA SA CCG can contribute to, provide feedback, and influence this Plan.

Importantly CCG members also contribute a climate change perspective to other key submissions, including:

In 2020 we connected with the COTA Victoria Green Sages environmental group.

COTA Australia has a published position on climate change.

Upcoming Events

We draw your attention to two events in November that you may be interested in being part of:

The Climate Change Group looks forward to keeping you abreast of developments as they occur and to feedback following our discussions with the four South Australian companies.

Barry Apsey
Chair, Climate Change Group

Climate Change Planning Session — 27 May 2021

On 27 May 2021, the Climate Change Group held a planning session at the Joinery.

Three main themes emerged from the planning session as guidelines for COTA’s future involvement in Climate Change:

  • COTA as an educator and information provider to COTA members
  • COTA as an advocate and lobbyist as part of holding business firms and Governments to account
  • COTA to work in partnership with other organisations and age groups in its climate change activities.

Three main areas of concern dominated the discussion:

  • Investment and superannuation — specifically how these could be directed to improve Climate outcomes
  • South Australia as a (Net) Zero state by 2030
  • Fossil Fuels — specifically how to reduce carbon emissions.

Other areas of group concern but which received a lesser rating were:

  • Health effects of climate change
  • Solar for renters
  • Reducing our personal carbon footprint at home
  • Voting for the Greens.

The key projects that were discussed:

  • A webinar on superannuation and investments which informed where funds invest and all about Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investments and their performance. This could be a cross-generational webinar (Investment area of concern).
  • Expanding on this to identify firms and funds to hold accountable for their climate change (and ESG) investments (Investment).
  • Writing to key organisations and associations (e.g. Business Council, American, Chinese and Indonesian Chambers of Commerce) asking what they or their members have in place to reduce carbon pollution (SA Zero, Fossil Fuels).
  • Promoting and lobbying for electric vehicles — for individuals and industry and recognise new electric vehicle charging stations (merit certificates) (SA Zero, Fossil Fuels).
  • Creating a coalition to deliver a YouTube channel to provide practical information on sustainability and how to get to Zero e.g. on electric versus conventional vehicles, ‘grey imports’ of electric vehicles from Japan, carsharing, air quality impacts of conventional vehicles (SA Zero, Fossil Fuels).
  • Meeting with SANTOS regularly (e.g. just before results seasons) holding them to account for actions on their Climate Change Plan (Fossil Fuels).
  • Lobbying South Australian Government on electric vehicle taxes and rail as an alternative to heavy transport (Fossil Fuels).

How you can get involved

We invite all older South Australians to be part of our work and encourage you to share the Statement of Interest on Climate Change with your friends. You can also:

More information

For more information or to get involved in climate change initiatives, please contact:

COTA SA
08 8232 0422 (Country callers 1800 182 324)
cotasa@cotasa.org.au

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