Credible policy can curb dangerous climate change impacts Media Release

Oct 14, 2013 - 11:30am

The impacts of climate change can be reduced and vulnerability reduced with a strong and effective Government response, The Climate Institute said today. (Click on related items below to view the PDF which includes the infographic.)

“With strong limits on carbon pollution, incentives for low carbon investments and good global citizenship, Australia can help keep global warming below a 2°C increase. As the advanced economy the most exposed to climate change, avoiding 2°C warming is in Australia’s national interest. But to do our fair share, we need to reduce 2000 level emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. 

“Both major parties have committed to reduce emissions by up to 25 per cent by 2020. The climate credibility test for the Government is whether its policy can achieve a 25 per cent reduction in emissions and contribute to avoiding major risks to the lives of Australians and severe impacts on communities and natural systems.” 

All independent analysis to date has shown that the Government policy to reduce pollution by primarily spending tax payers’ dollars to fund emitters will see emission go up, not down.

If other nations followed this example, global average temperatures would increase by 4-6°C with catastrophic consequences for Australia and the world. 

“Australia’s minimum 5 per cent target is not a fair contribution to avoiding dangerous climate change,” Connor said. “The United States, for instance, is targeting around a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 and China is putting in place carbon prices and limits to drive an industrial clean energy future. That is a lot more than we’d be doing under the Government’s policy.” 

“Strong emission limits – through a national emissions trading scheme or direct regulations on industry – are required to ensure we achieve the pollution reductions required. The IMF, World Bank and the OECD reiterated again last week that pricing carbon pollution is an essential ingredient of a cost-effective plan to reduce emissions.”

“Recent extreme climate events highlight that we must stop walking backwards into the climate realities of the 21st century.” 

“We must prepare a framework of action and disclosure that looks at the very real risks of human suffering, economic losses and environmental impacts of both the 2°C goal and the 4°C warming which we are currently heading for.”

“While both major parties recognise the national climate interest in avoiding 2°C warming, they are yet to offer clear guidance in national policies such as infrastructure and health that would prepare Australia for a 2°C, let alone the 4°C world that are we currently on track to realise.” 

The Climate Institute recently released a media brief outlining expected climate impacts for Australia under various degrees of warming. It has also kept track of the Government’s commitment to potentially up the target from 5 per cent.

For more information  
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

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