The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the G7’s commitment to phase out fossil fuel use and said the announcement contained a clear message for Australia.

Overnight the G7 leading industrial nations agreed to phase out the use of fossil fuelsby the end of this century and limit the rise in average global temperatures to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

“This announcement makes it clear the age of polluting fossil fuels like coal and gas is over,” said ACF climate change program manager Victoria McKenzie-McHarg.

“While the world will need to cut pollution to zero well before 2100, this announcement indicates the direction some of the world’s most powerful economies are taking.

“Australia risks being left behind if we don’t rapidly transform our energy sector to make it clean and pollution free.

“Countries like Australia will need to cut pollution to zero by the middle of the century, or sooner, if we are to protect our communities from the worst of global warming.

“For Australia global warming means longer heatwaves, worse water shortages, more intense bushfires and increased heat-related illnesses.

“And new research released today finds higher temperatures increase the intensity of storm bursts, raising the risk of flash flooding in our cities.

“The Abbott government will set its post-2020 pollution targets in the next few weeks.

“ACF urges the government to heed this message from the world’s major economies and act to protect our communities.

“What’s needed is strong targets and tangible support for clean energy investment rather than weak targets that will protect the interests of a handful of big polluting mining and energy companies,” she said.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910, tom.arup@acf.org.au; or Toby Halligan on 0419 403 016, toby.halligan@acf.org.au For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.