Government should heed scientist's advice on climate change Media Release

Sep 29, 2008 - 11:42am

The Climate Institute today urged the Government to put scientific evidence “front and centre” of negotiations over the detail of its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, following an open letter from Australia’s leading climate scientists.

“Australia’s leading climate scientists are sending a clear, collective and urgent message to Government that Australia risks dangerous climate change and that there is no time for ‘soft starts’ or weak 2020 targets,” said Erwin Jackson, Director, Policy and Research at the Climate Institute.

“This letter should serve to focus the minds of government and the community on the urgent need for strong action at a time when some big polluters have been seeking to overshadow the views of experts by serving up inflated claims on costs of reducing emissions.”

Sixteen of the countries leading independent scientists signed an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urging him to adopt a target of reducing Australian greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent, off 1990 levels, by 2020 and to help build momentum toward a global deal at international negotiations in Copenhagen next year.

They warn that unless urgent decisive action is taken we “will leave Australians with a legacy of economic, environmental, social and health costs that will dwarf the scale of national investment required to address this fundamental problem."

The scientists have also backed key findings of Government’s independent climate change advisor and economist Professor Ross Garnaut that it was in Australia’s best interests to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at 450ppm or lower. They also support Professor Garnaut’s conclusion that Australia would be the “biggest loser” amongst developed countries from the impacts of unmitigated climate change.

“The Government, Opposition and business leaders face a stark choice. They can accept the clear warning from the scientific community and adopt scientifically and internationally credible targets to reduce emissions, and drive multi-billion dollar investments in clean industries; or pander to the scare mongering of the big polluters and put the well-being of hundreds of millions of people at risk,” Mr Jackson said.

“Scientists have shone a light back on the key issues that we should all be focused on - the devastating environmental and economic risks of inaction and the pathway to an international agreement and securing a safe and prosperous future for our children.”


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