THE RACE IS ON to respond to accelerating climate change with rapid and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions this decade, but latest federal government data shows Australia’s pollution is only decreasing .
Climate Council analysis shows Australia would need to cut emissions 21 times faster than us to play our part in preventing catastrophic climate change, and that
- Year over year, emissions have declined (2.1%), with COVID-19 lockdowns and interstate travel restrictions being a big reason.
- States, territories and household solar installations are cutting emissions in the electricity sector (4.5% from a year ago) despite little or no support from the federal government.
- Since this federal government came to power in 2013, emissions other than land clearing have declined by a meager 2.4 percent – or a third of a percent per year – with a significant portion due to global pandemic.
Tim Baxter, Senior Researcher at the Climate Council: “Today’s quarterly emissions data shows that our slow and inadequate national response continues. We know from painful and recent experience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that delaying a response or being slow to act has serious consequences. We cannot afford to go slowly on this point.
“The time to build on the accomplishments of others is long past. We need a federal government that is ready to step up emission reductions and take charge of real policy, not wish lists, ”he said.
The current Niña is causing storms, extreme rainfall and flooding in parts of the country – a stark contrast to the Black Summer bushfires that burned Australia in 2019/2020 – but nonetheless amplified by the acceleration of change climate.
“There is no doubt that the federal government will exacerbate this problem through its dangerous National Gas Infrastructure Plan. The expansion and opening of massive new pools of fossil fuels will only see Australia’s emissions increase as the rest of the world moves away from coal, oil and gas, ”Mr. Baxter.
“Following the path underpinning the federal government’s new gas plan will put us on the right track to a catastrophic world 3.5 degrees warmer. It’s an unthinkable future, ”he said.
The Climate Council recommends that Australia aim for a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030. This would amount to emissions reductions 21 times faster than the federal government.
“Dealing with the climate crisis is a race. Communities across Australia recognize this is a race because they face worsening extreme weather conditions like the Black Summer bushfires. Businesses recognize that this is a race because there are economic consequences to moving slowly, but many opportunities to profit if we step up our efforts. Countries around the world are rushing towards net zero, but Australia’s response remains woefully inadequate. This should be a major concern for all Australians, ”said Mr Baxter.
All countries that have recently joined the Glasgow Climate Pact but have not yet increased the ambition of their 2030 targets – including Australia – are required to do so by November at the latest.
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