The Federal Government is taking a step in the right direction by committing to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by 25 per cent below 2000 levels if the world agrees to an ambitious climate deal, according to Oxfam Australia.
However, as one of the world’s highest per capita polluters, the Government should not delay the start of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).
Oxfam Australia climate change spokeswoman Julie-Anne Richards said that while the target did not reflect the full effort required for Australia to do its fair share in the global effort and should not be conditional on other countries taking action, it was a sign the Federal Government was listening to the many voices urging it to go further on its climate change policy.
“A 25 per cent target won’t make us a front-runner, but it would put us back in the race against catastrophic climate change,” she said.
“A 25 per cent target is the minimum that Australia needs to look credible in international negotiations on climate change, but it still falls short of the 40 per cent below 1990 levels target that scientific research says needs to be adopted to avoid dangerous climate change.
“Provided the revised 25 per cent target is teamed with a commitment to help developing countries reduce their emissions and to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, it is a positive move that may help move the global negotiations forward.
“We must get a global deal on climate change this year; the future of our planet depends on it.”
Ms Richards said the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) needed to be urgently reviewed, but should not be delayed until 2011.
“Australia needs to put in place a CPRS that will seriously address climate change so that Australia can play a positive and constructive role in the UN climate negotiations to reach a global deal in Copenhagen in December,” she said.
“The CPRS has real flaws in its current structure, particularly the large amount of funding that goes to big polluters, and the lack of commitment to help developing countries reduce their emissions and fund adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. The Government should restructure the CPRS and introduce it as soon as possible.
“Australia also needs to meet the bulk of its emissions reductions domestically, rather than purchasing international carbon credits.”
Ms Richards said climate change was already impacting on millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. “Countries throughout the world – from the small nations of the Pacific to the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa – have not contributed to the problem of climate change, but are bearing the brunt through rising sea levels, desertification, worse storms and food and water shortages,” Ms Richards said.
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