A series of compromises by the federal government on its pre-election commitment to take strong action on climate change has led to national and peak state-based environment organisations today uniting in opposition to the proposed emissions trading legislation.
An emergency meeting of the environment organisations, representing more than 400,000 Australians, in Canberra has also produced a new report outlining a suite of measures that can be in place within two years to put Australia within reach of halving its greenhouse emissions within a decade.
The environment organisations involved are: The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Environment Victoria, Queensland Conservation Council, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Conservation Council of SA, Environment Tasmania, Conservation Council WA, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and Conservation Council ACT Region.
Campaigns Director of Environment Victoria, Mark Wakeham said the government’s approach to climate change was dangerously inadequate because it does not respond to the latest science and instead has been hijacked by vested interests.
“There is emerging consensus among leading international climate scientists that there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere and that we need to pull out all stops to avoid reaching catastrophic tipping points within the climate system.
“We face a climate emergency but the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) fails all Australians and it undermines international negotiations. It fails the climate, fails the environment and fails to capitalise on the enormous opportunities in growing a green economy.
“We need a price on carbon but not one that locks in rising greenhouse pollution in Australia.”
This weekend the environment groups will join community climate action groups and tens of thousands of people expected to take in national climate emergency rallies to be held in every capital city.
Greenpeace spokesperson Jeremy Tager said small targets and half measures by the government through its proposed CPRS legislation had led to a failure to address the root cause of Australia’s growing greenhouse emissions.
“Australia’s energy emissions have increased by nearly 50 per cent since 1990 and now accounts for more than half of Australia’s total greenhouse pollution.
“The only way to tackle this threat to all Australians is to fast track the switch to clean renewable energy by phasing out coal-fired power stations, directing subsidies into renewable energy generation, energy savings and doubling the renewable energy target.”
Mr Wakeham said “Environment groups have outlined a suite of measures that can be implemented right now to put Australia back on track to halve our emissions over the next decade, which the leading scientists are saying is what is needed.
“The good news is that many of these measures will create jobs, reduce fuel and electricity bills and create a new clean energy economy.”
Plan B: An Agenda for Immediate Climate Action outlines five essential measures that are proven and ready to be implemented: