FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd once said climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our time.
Twelve years later, as successive governments continue to struggle with the concept, it turns out he wasn't exaggerating.
And voters are running out of patience.
Climate change has claimed the scalp of every prime minister since John Howard, in some form or another.
Howard didn't believe in it and was shown the door, Rudd couldn't get his policy straight (it also didn't help that his own party hated him), Julia Gillard never recovered from promising against a carbon tax and later delivering one, Tony Abbott's attitude on climate change and social welfare took him in the same direction as his mentor and Malcolm Turnbull faltered with the National Energy Guarantee.
To have any hope of overcoming this issue and putting the public's expectations at ease, the major parties need to do two things in the lead-up to this federal election.
First, they have to decide once and for all whether climate change is worth acting on. No ifs, no buts, no wayward backbenchers - yes or no.
If the answer is yes, the years of policy to-ing and fro-ing need to come to an end - if the answer is underwriting new coalfired power stations to get us through the transition to green energy, or even a carbon price, commit, set a meaningful target and convince us why it is the best way forward.
Any further failures to set a clear path will only lead to more political scalps on both sides and time lost.
Why is there a need to be this black and white?
When the climate change debate began in earnest in the mid-2000s, there was still disagreement as to whether it was real.
In 2019, we are seeing results of climate change, we are in it.
Sunburnt grapes were not an issue in Orange 10 years ago, being a cool climate wine region and all.
But in recent years, this news service has been reporting on harvests creeping earlier and earlier.
Now, sunburn is proving a big enough problem that Charles Sturt University is studying the phenomenon and how vignerons should care for their vines to prevent their reds from tasting like fruit cake.
We usually hold thin hopes for snow in town each year, but the latest data from Australian National University suggests in time, any snow may be a thing of the past.
Any further failures to set a clear path will only lead to more political scalps on both sides and precious time lost.
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