Environment Victoria has welcomed today’s report by the Climate Change Authority which recommends that Australia needs to increase its greenhouse pollution reduction target if it is to match international efforts to reduce emissions and keep alive hopes of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees celsius.
The draft report “Targets and Progress Review” finds that Australia’s current 5 per cent emissions reduction target is not credible and models two alternative emissions reduction targets of 15 and 25 per cent.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:
“This report, by the agency established to be the independent umpire and take the politics out of setting emissions targets, is a wake-up call to the Australian Parliament to get serious about mechanisms to reduce greenhouse pollution.
“The Coalition now needs to confirm whether or not its Direct Action Plan can meet either the 15 or 25 per cent target. An emissions trading scheme can be tightened to deliver stronger targets. Without further budgetary funding the Coalition’s Direct Action plan will fail to meet higher targets, and therefore it is not a credible policy response to a critical global challenge.
“The Coalition has repeatedly said it supports a target range of 5-25 per cent emissions reductions. Now is the time for them to turn those words into action by accepting the need for higher targets as recommended by the Authority.
“The Abbott Government should also abandon its foolhardy plan to abolish the Climate Change Authority. Any effort to do so now will be interpreted as an attempt to gag the credible independent umpire on emissions targets and turn pollution targets into a political football.
“The report is also a reminder to the ALP that now is not the time to be weakening its climate policy, with suggestions in the media recently that the ALP is internally debating its position on a carbon price.
“Importantly the targets recommended by the Climate Change Authority are only the likely first step in strengthening targets and are not adequate to avoid dangerous climate change.
“The Authority’s targets include an in-built compromise to factor in other countries’ emissions reduction targets. The Authority’s targets have an eye on the science, but ultimately they are based on political commitments made by other emitters.
“The report is clear that the 15 and 25 per cent targets recommended as Australia’s initial contribution towards a global carbon budget of 1700 billion tonnes of CO2e by 2050 only provides a 67% chance of avoiding more than 2 degrees of global warming.
“You wouldn’t get on a plane that has a 33% chance of crashing. Australia and other wealthy countries should be aiming much higher to reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change that will haunt current and future generations.”
For further information or comment
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria Campaigns Director, 0439 700 501