The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has condemned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for putting his own interests ahead of the safety of our community and the resilience of our natural world by abandoning even the weak climate change action proposed for our energy system.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the decision to park pollution targets for the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) was another low in Australian climate policy and brought to light the unrepresentative influence of climate sceptics in our public life.
“Nine years after saying he would not lead a party that is not as committed to climate change as he was, the Prime Minister has decided to do just that,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“This is an abdication of the solemn responsibility our elected representatives have to protect our communities and our natural world.
“Today in New South Wales, as the Prime Minister was abandoning climate action, firefighters were risking their lives battling seventy-eight blazes across the state in winter.
“Australia is hotter than it used to be because of climate change. Extreme weather is more extreme than it used to be. And our Great Barrier Reef is falling apart under the strain of warmer and more acidic oceans.
“Australia is fast running out of time to stop burning coal, stop razing forests, and actually cut pollution as part of a concerted global effort to head off the worst threats of climate change.
“The problem isn’t that the Prime Minister doesn’t understand this. It’s that he’s chosen political expediency over the pressing existential threat to our planet. The more our elected representatives dither on climate action and attack clean energy, the more unpopular they become—because climate action and building more renewables into our energy system is strongly supported by the Australian public.
“Parking emissions targets for the NEG is the tip of the iceberg. This government has weakened industry pollution caps. It has attacked renewable energy and sought to prop up polluting coal. It has abandoned the release of a national climate strategy. And it has stalled on pollution standards for cars.
“This government simply has no climate change plan, and no state or territory in their right mind should now sign up to the NEG at the COAG Energy Council.
“At some point a reckoning must come for those MPs who seek to deny the basic science of climate change. We cannot have one of our parties of government held hostage by climate sceptics whose extreme views do not represent the clear majority of the Australian community.
“The Australian Conservation Foundation, and our half million supporters, will be highly active during the upcoming federal election to hold all our elected representatives to account for their position on climate change.
“If they do not measure up we will say so, and vocally, within the communities they purport to represent.”