Ahead of today’s COAG Energy Council meeting, the Australian Conservation Foundation is welcoming a declaration on climate action from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT governments. The declaration backed in a commitment to strong climate action after they met with former US Vice President Al Gore.

This declaration follows a series of statements by states holding the federal government to account for their current climate and energy policy paralysis.

“It’s not surprising that state governments are fed up and threatening to take policy into their own hands,” said Suzanne Harter, Australian Conservation Foundation Climate and Clean Energy Campaigner.

“The fact that it’s been left to the states to show national leadership on climate change should leave the federal government hanging their heads in shame.

“The states’ declaration supports the Paris Agreement and the role Australia must take as part of the global effort to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C.

“In contrast to the Turnbull Government, these states and the ACT have strong renewable energy ambitions and a shared commitment to achieve zero net climate pollution by 2050.

“There is a growing gap between Australia’s pollution and our international Paris commitments. Even the government’s ridiculously low 2030 Paris target will be impossible to meet unless the upward trend in our greenhouse pollution can be turned around quickly and with credible, lasting policy.

“Until climate policy is sorted, the whole country is held hostage to rising levels of greenhouse pollution, rising electricity prices, and delay in updating our national electricity grid.

“Australia’s greenhouse pollution has been rising since the carbon price was abolished by the Abbott/Turnbull government.

“The most recent National Greenhouse Gas Inventory released after ACF exposed the fact that the government has been sitting on pollution data, showed that Australia’s greenhouse pollution increased another 1.4 percent in the year to December 2016.

“Australia has a dirty, outdated energy system set up for a bygone era, and it needs urgent modernization to deal with the unstoppable transition to clean energy,” Ms Harter said.

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Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.