Today, the latest report from the Climate Council – which comes on the back of other research from the Australian Academy of Science and ahead of critical ‘Biden Summit’ and ‘Glasgow Summit’ this year – gives our country a choice.

Most importantly, it gives our federal government – and our parliament – a stark decision: act, or suffer the consequences.

The world is nowhere near doing what’s required to stabilise temperatures at a relatively safe level and Australia – one of the worst emitters per capita – is not pulling its weight.

Even though Australia is especially vulnerable to heatwaves, droughts, bushfires and coastal erosion – all of which will continue to worsen as our climate continues to warm – the Morrison government’s approach to climate action does not match the science.Since 2013 successive Coalition governments have left it to state governments of both political persuasions to do the heavy lifting, but there is no substitute for national action.

The federal government must lead for Australia to do our fair share to secure a safe climate.

That means cutting our climate pollution by more than two-thirds in the next decade and reaching net zero emissions in the next fifteen years.

With the right policies, a skilled workforce, the best solar and wind resources in the world and proximity to Asian markets, Australia can cut domestic emissions and those of our neighbours by exporting renewable energy and green hydrogen, steel and aluminium.

This should be the focus of job creation as we reboot the economy out of the COVID crisis.

Today, we urge Prime Minister Morrison to use next week’s climate summit, hosted by US President Biden, to commit to a Climate Positive Plan that harnesses the best Aussie know-how to cut pollution, removes the brakes on great jobs in renewable-powered industries and keeps people and wildlife safe from climate-fuelled bushfires, droughts and storms.

More delays mean greater danger to Australians as our ability to limit climate damage moves further from reach. Every tonne of pollution, every decision, every day matters.

 

Kelly O’Shanassy

CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation.