The Federal Government’s proposed post-2020 target to reduce climate pollution is weak and will not protect the systems that support life in Australia, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Cabinet has reportedly agreed to a target to reduce climate pollution by 26–28 per cent (from 2005 levels) by 2030.  This is equivalent to 19 per cent from 2000 levels by 2030.

“The target proposed by the government is bad news for life in Australia, out of step with other countries and inconsistent with the global commitment to keep global warming below 2°C,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“It’s a defeatist target that shows no faith in the ability of Australians to adapt, innovate and make the transition to a clean economy.

“In reality Australians are keen to switch to clean energy, as the enthusiastic take-up of rooftop solar shows.  According to polling out this week two-thirds of Australians want the government to take climate change more seriously.

“This target is lower than the upper end of Australia’s existing target of 5–25 per cent by 2020, but it adds a decade and leaves the next generation to pick up the tab.

“Unfortunately the government seems determined to do the bidding of the big polluters and keep our economy handcuffed to last century’s energy sources – coal and gas.

“The international community is looking to Australia, one of the world’s major polluters, to set adequate goals for the post-2020 period.  A weak target leaves an unacceptably large burden with other countries and future generations. 

“We urge the government to strengthen the post-2020 targets it takes to the UN talks in Paris to demonstrate Australia is a responsible global citizen that will play its part in addressing this most global of problems,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

ACF is calling for Australia to set targets to cut pollution by at least 25 per cent (on 2000 levels) by 2020, 40–60 per cent by 2025 and 60–80 per cent by 2030.

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