No time to rest on laurels – time to get on with credible climate policy Media Release

Nov 25, 2015 - 4:00pm

The lower than expected 2020 emissions reduction task announced today should not see the government rest on its laurels, The Climate Institute said.

“It is mostly good fortune, not good policy, that has produced the lower than expected 2020 emissions reduction task. Good climate action would see the government build on, not rest on, efforts before 2020 as well as after,” said CEO of the Climate Institute, John Connor. 

“The major drivers behind Australia’s current emissions profile are lower electricity demand, worse than expected agricultural conditions, as well as lower mining and manufacturing output - not the government’s centrepiece climate policy. "

“All else being equal, recent changes in government policy, like weakening the Renewable Energy Target and removing the carbon laws, will have increased, not decreased Australia’s emissions."

“Looking ahead, the government now has an opportunity to lift its efforts for 2020 and beyond and develop policies for achieving a net zero emissions economy that will be necessary in a world avoiding 2°C warming above pre industrial levels."

“We welcome the Minister recognising that a net zero emissions economy and electricity sector will be necessary for this bipartisan goal. We also welcome the South Australian Government’s announcement today they will seek to achieve this by 2050,” Connor said.

“This can’t be done without replacing our aging and inefficient coal fired power sector with clean energy - and the longer we delay, the more disruptive the inevitable transition to clean energy will become.”

“Most importantly, today’s announcement means Australia can and should do more before and after 2020. The inadequate 5 per cent reduction target that the government claims has been achieved was always a minimum target, with Australia committing to do more as others did more. And they have.”

“This has been the case since Malcolm Turnbull accepted the then Rudd Government’s range of 5 to 25 per cent reductions in 2009. This commitment has remained in international commitments under the Abbott and now Turnbull governments.”

“The Climate Institute supports the government’s goal of securing a Paris agreement that builds on the current global clean energy boom and empowers countries to step up action through time. At the end of the day, it is domestic policy not international agreements that will avoid a 2°C increase in global temperature.”

“Australia’s current policy package is not fit for purpose, and there’s no time to rest in getting it into the shape we need to meet the 2°C international commitments that matter,” said Connor.

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Brinsley Marlay | Media Manager | 02 8239 6299

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