The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 but says it’s not a win for the climate without a plan to seriously cut emissions this decade.
“By setting a net zero by 2050 goal the Prime Minister has finally committed Australia to a target that other nations signed up to years ago,” said ACF Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Net zero by 2050 is welcome but the mid-century goal is only meaningful with deep cuts to climate pollution this decade.
“The Prime Minister has so far announced a plan to have a plan. It is short-changing Australians by refusing to join other nations in at least halving emissions by 2030.
“With climate change such an urgent problem for Australia and the world, a 2050 target is not enough.
“Dramatically cutting climate pollution this decade will be the main concern at the Glasgow climate talks and it’s the main game if we want to deliver a safe future for Australian kids and if we want new clean industries and jobs.
“The biggest and most in-depth survey ever conducted of Australians’ opinions on climate change found a majority support action to cut climate emissions by at least half by 2030.
“The cost of too little action this decade far outweighs the cost of transitioning to a low pollution economy.
“This discussion has been too focused on internal politics and not enough on the impact it will have on our climate and protecting nature.
“Any attempt to weaken Australia’s environment law as a trade-off with the Nationals will threaten Australian wildlife like the koala with extinction and should be opposed by members of parliament.
“It makes zero sense to weaken nature protection laws to get emissions down because protecting forests is the most practical way to capture and store carbon.
“It would also be wrong to include an extension of the inland rail between Toowoomba and Gladstone as part of a deal to reach net zero by 2050.
“This rail project would open the corridors for nine new thermal coal mines, which flies in the face of real climate action.
“There are practical solutions ready now to fast track emissions cuts and they will create jobs and prosperity.
“Unless the government sets the wheels in motion to cut our emissions in half by 2030, it is making climate change worse and turning its back on the opportunities.
“Australia cannot keep relying on coal and gas exports because these industries are on the way out and if those workers are not helped with the transition, they will be left high and dry.
“Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing coal and gas with renewable energy.
“We have abundant clean energy, tools and talent, but we cannot delay any longer.”