Demand that our Government takes real actions to combat climate change now
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We call on our government to take real, transparent and measurable actions to minimise the adverse impacts of climate change by:
1. Scrapping the National Energy Guarantee and replacing it with the Emissions Intensity Scheme proposed by our Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and supported widely by businesses
2. Replacing inadequate Paris commitment with real and effective targets equivalent to the European Union 2030 Climate and Energy Framework – 40% emissions reductions from 1990 levels, 27% renewables and 27% efficiency improvements.
3. Placing a moratorium on land clearing to improve climate performance and reduce bio-diversity loss.
4. Phasing in responsibility for the emissions from for our fossil fuel exports
We should be ashamed!
Of all of the developed countries in the world, Australia is one of the most vulnerable to climate change.[i] Despite this, we are ranked 57th out of 60 countries in the Climate Change Performance Index.[ii]
The proposed National Energy Guarantee does nothing to improve our performance.
The 2017 UN Environment Emissions Gap Report [iii] indicated that:
· Global warming is increasing at a faster rate than forecast.
· A large gap exists between the Paris commitments and pathways to 2 degrees C and 1.5 degrees C goals.
· There is an urgent need for accelerated actions.
· There are no scenarios available that keep warming below 1.5 degrees C by 2100 without removing carbon from the atmosphere.
· Worldwide: 80 to 90% of coal reserves, 35% of oil reserves and 50% of gas reserves will need to remain in the ground if climate targets are to be reached and serious consequences are to be avoided.
Australia’s Paris Protocol commitment is to achieve 26 – 28% reductions in global warming emissions by 2030. However, rather than using the 1990 base year (as recommended by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) the Abbott government adopted 2005 as our base year. Australia’s 26% emissions reduction commitment from 2005 emissions level is equivalent to an 8% reduction from the recommended 1990 base year.
This inadequate and misleading target has been mirrored in the National Energy Guarantee where it will be locked in by legislation, making it difficult for future governments to change.
We cannot let this happen!
In comparison, the European Union‘s Paris commitment was 26 – 28% from the recommended 1990 base year. They have now released their 2030 Climate and Energy Framework [iv] that plans to achieve at least 40% emissions reductions from a 1990 base year, plus at least a 27% share of renewable energy and at least a 27% improvement in energy efficiency.
Minister Frydenberg claims that our 26% reduction from 2005 is “about right”. The rest of the world appears to disagree.
The Nationals MP Craig Kelly claims that our Paris target of 26% “is the most onerous in the world”. He appears to be incorrect. He and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott want more coal mines and more coal fired power stations.
This is madness!
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal.
In 2017 we exported 36.6% of the world’s coal supplies being 372 million tonnes of coal at a cost of $56.5 billion AUD. [v] When burnt, this coal will emit over 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere! To avoid catastrophic climate damage, all of this carbon dioxide will have to be removed from our atmosphere at some time in the future. At a current estimated cost of around $100 USD per tonne for carbon capture and storage, the cost to clean up emissions from our 2017 coal exports is $100 Billion ($100,000,000,000) USD! This is more than double what we received for the sale of the coal!
Who will pay for the carbon removal in the future?
How long can our greed continue?
We ignore any responsibility for the emissions or the damage that they cause but we continue to dig coal up and ship it out.
Our government must develop policies that will enable our economy to survive when coal mining becomes a “stranded” industry due to its associated environmental damage and the world shifting rapidly to renewable energy.
In 2014, climate protestors from Pacific Islands to our north came to Australia to highlight the impacts that rising sea levels due to global warming were having on their nations. They believe that the burning and export of Australian coal was a cause of the flooding of their low-level islands. As part of their protest, they blocked Newcastle Harbour, one of the world’s largest coal exporting ports. [vi]
When the people of these nations are flooded out of their homes and need some-where else to live, will our government call these climate refugees “illegals” and turn back their boats?
We should be even more ashamed!
Australia is one of the world’s worst deforesting nations.[vii]
Trees play a vital role by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by using and storing the carbon and releasing the oxygen into the atmosphere for us to breathe.
Not only have our Federal and State governments failed to protect our forests, they have introduced legislations that have significantly increased deforestation. [viii] [ix]
Deforestation releases stored carbon to the atmosphere, destroys ecosystems and reduces biodiversity.[x]
As a result, Australia has one of the highest losses of species anywhere in the world.[xi] [xii]
We must act now!
Our government must acknowledge that climate change is real and damaging, not only to the people for the world but to some of our major industries.
We must act now to prevent our reliance on unsustainable industries such as fossil fuel exporting from causing immeasurable damage to the world’s environment and to our economy.
Sign this petition and let our government know that Australia must act more responsibly.
[i] SMH, 24 March 2018, Cole Latimer: “Australia highly vulnerable to climate change: HSBC”
[ii] News.com.au, Charis Chang, 17 November 2017: “Climate Change Performance Index: Australia ranked 57, almost comes last”
[iii] United Nations Environment Emissions Gap Report 2017.
[iv] European Commission>Energy, Climate Change, Environment>Climate Action>Climate strategies & targets>2030 climate & energy framework
[v] Australian Mining, 8 February 2018, Ewen Hosie: “Australian coal exports set new record in 2017”
[vi] BBC News, 17 October 2104: South Pacific climate activists blockade Australian port”
[vii] UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, 8 July 2016: “Australia’s land clearing rate is once again among the highest in the world”
[viii] The Guardian, 22 April 2018, Lisa Cox: “Frydenberg stalls on woodlands protection after pressure from states and farmers”
[ix] SMH, 27 May 2018, Nicole Hasham: Government urged to stop Great Barrier Reef tree-clearing ‘frenzy’”
[x] CSIRO Publishing, Pacific Conservation Biology, 19 June 2017: Ecological consequences of land clearing and policy reform in Queensland”
[xi] The Wilderness Society, “10 facts about de-forestation in Australia”, Updated 19 January 2018.
[xii] RMIT ABC Fact Check, 4 March 2016: “Fact Check: Does Australia have one of the highest loss of species anywhere in the world?”
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