Oxfam Australia is calling on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to meet its international responsibilities on climate change in the wake of the Climate Change Authority’s Targets and Progress Review out today.
The report recommends an emissions reduction cut of around four times the Federal Government’s current 5 per cent target.
Oxfam Australia’s Climate Change Policy Advisor Dr Simon Bradshaw said the report argued Australia had fallen out of step with the global community, and recommended Australia should move immediately beyond its 5 per cent target to 19 per cent by 2020.
“By setting our sights so low, we are working against Australia’s national interest in seeing a strong global response to climate change, as well as the interests of the Asia-Pacific region,” Dr Bradshaw said.
“This summer’s extreme heat has reminded us once again of the brute reality of climate change; meanwhile, Australia is neighbour to some of the most ‘climate vulnerable’ countries on earth.
“From the low-lying Pacific island states to the flood-prone countries of the Mekong Delta, many of Australia’s closest neighbours are already facing extreme pressures from shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and other changes.
“Climate Change hits poorer countries first and hardest – the same countries with the least historical responsibility for carbon pollution.”
Dr Bradshaw said that as a rich nation with abundant renewable energy potential, Australia was well positioned to lead the transition to a cleaner global economy.
“It is in Australia’s best interests to play a positive role in international efforts to tackle climate change over the coming years,” he said.
“With climate change the greatest challenge in the fight against global hunger, putting a break on international action risks condemning hundreds of millions to greater hunger and deprivation.”
Oxfam is urging the Federal Government not to dismantle the Climate Change Authority – an important independent authority – but rather look at building on Australia’s existing climate laws and institutions.
“Australia must have a long-term plan for tackling climate change, informed by sound independent analysis, with ambitious goals for reducing Australia’s emissions and supporting vulnerable nations adapt to the changes that can no longer be avoided,” Dr Bradshaw said.
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