In response to Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen’s first Annual Climate Change Statement to federal parliament, Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said:
“Australian action to tackle climate change has come further in the last six months than it did in the previous six years.
“We have a Prime Minister who says he wants climate action to be his legacy and a Climate Change Minister who says failure to act would be ‘an unforgivable act’ of negligence.
“On the international stage Australia is no longer a laggard or laughing stock, while here at home there is progress on clean energy transition.
“There is no denying we are in a climate crisis and the science warns it is getting worse.
“Australian communities, wildlife and industries are enduring extreme climate conditions more often – with devastating consequences – so we must keep striving for stronger action.
“Pacific nations have called for Australia to commit to no new coal or gas projects.
“If we truly care about our region, Australia needs to rethink its commitment to digging up and exporting fossil fuels. It would be irresponsible to allow climate bombs like Woodside’s Scarborough gas project to go ahead.
“There is absolutely no place for new or extended coal mines or gas projects in the third decade of the 21st century.
“While the October budget contained funding for renewable energy growth, it also provides billions of dollars in subsidies to the polluting fossil fuel industries. These should end.
“We know the safeguard mechanism needs serious surgery to turn it into an effective scheme to cut emissions from the nation’s major polluters.
“Our analysis shows under its present settings the safeguard mechanism is facilitating an increase in climate-heating emissions from big polluters. Total safeguard mechanism reported emissions have risen by about 7% since the regime was established.
“To be on a credible path to net zero, we need to overhaul the flawed carbon offsets regime. We need integrity, transparency and meaningful action to cut Australia’s climate pollution.”