Our western democracies can no longer deliver consensus and action on issues that threaten humanity such as climate change, writes Dr David Shearman. Governments are unwilling to accept that many of the problems we now confront are so complex and urgent as to be beyond the comprehension and abilities of elected officials, these officials place their political survival before collective needs and many defer to an overwhelmingly powerful fossil fuel industry for personal gain.
To become relevant today, elected governments have to be prepared to accept advice from independent commissions of scientists and other relevant experts — and not by political appointment.
Dr David Shearman (AM, Ph.D., FRACP, FRCPE) is a professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, South Australia and co-founder of Doctors for the Environment Australia. He is co-author of “The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy” (2007) commissioned by the Pell Centre for International Relations and Public Policy.
Read the oped in full in The Hill, 3 January 2022.