IN ONE WEEK, as Australia’s international counterparts made significant new climate commitments, Australia continues to hamper global efforts, according to the Climate Council.
âOver the past week, the United States has pledged billions of dollars in new climate finance for developing countries, and China has announced it will stop funding international coal-fired power plants. This sets the tone for what is expected of all countries in the run-up to the next major United Nations climate negotiations in November, âsaid Will Steffen, spokesperson for the Climate Council and professor emeritus at the Australian National University.
âThe contrast to Australia’s mediocre efforts couldn’t be more stark. Australia refuses to increase its emissions reduction target by 2030 or to commit to net zero emissions. It has launched a marketing campaign that claims credit for the efforts of states and territories on renewable energy and made a small funding commitment for hydrogen hubs, but that’s not going to reduce it, âsaid Professor Steffen.
“The science is clear that the world urgently needs to reduce emissions this decade, but none of Australia’s commitments are a significant contribution to this goal,” said Professor Steffen.
âThe government still has not moved despite calls for more to do from the public, world leaders, business leaders and members of its own party. We are now one of the only advanced economies that have not yet taken these essential steps to reduce emissions, âhe added.
China’s decision to stop funding overseas coal-fired power plants follows similar moves by Japan and South Korea earlier this year. The announcement effectively ends international funding for coal, with important implications for future demand for Australian coal exports.
Climate Council Research Director Dr Simon Bradshaw said: âAs one of the sunniest and windiest countries on the planet, Australia could be a global renewable energy powerhouse. Every day of delay is a missed economic opportunity.
“Australia’s climate inaction also creates national security risks and weakens our position with key allies such as the United States who have security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region which are exacerbated by our attitude. to do nothing, âDr Bradshaw added.
âClimate change is on the agenda of this week’s high-level ‘Quad’ talks with the United States, Japan and China, and world leaders like US President Joe Biden and the Prime Minister Briton Boris Johnson have made it clear that they expect countries like Australia to step up, âhe said.
âThe world is warning us; Australia can no longer get away with doing nothing about climate change. We have a little over a month to come up with a credible climate policy that will allow us to go to COP 26 with our heads held high rather than shamefully hide as a climate laggard, âsaid Dr Bradshaw.
The Climate Council says science demands that Australia reduce its emissions by 75% (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. As a first step, Australia owes less respect the updated commitments of our main allies and commit before Glasgow to at least halving our emissions (below 2005 levels) by 2030.
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