The Australian Government, which is facing a grilling at this week’s UN climate meeting in Bonn, has submitted answers to questions about its climate policies lodged earlier in the year by countries including China and the US.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy advisor Dr Simon Bradshaw said the government’s responses so far raised more questions than they answered, and provided no greater clarity on how Australia would meet its existing commitments, let alone the far stronger commitments that will be expected under a new global climate agreement to be agreed in Paris at the end of the year.
“The multilateral assessment process is designed to build transparency, accountability and confidence as countries work to finalise a fair and effective global agreement,” Dr Bradshaw said.
“But Australia’s lack of transparency, along with refusal to up its level of ambition, is extremely disappointing.
“In answering questions about its Emissions Reduction Fund, the Government has repeated numerous times the reductions purchased so far, but failed to mention once the timeline for these reductions, evading the fact that some will be achieved too late to be counted towards Australia’s 2020 targets.”
Australia also evaded other pertinent questions, such as if and when it will move beyond its minimum target of reducing emissions by 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.
“We are mid-way through a critical year for international action on climate change, culminating with a new international agreement in Paris in December,” he said.
“Oxfam is already seeing the impacts of climate change on poor communities around the world, including our near neighbours.
“Earlier this year, Cyclone Pam brought devastation and suffering to Vanuatu – destroying crops, contaminating water and damaging more than 13,000 homes.
“Australia must become a more constructive player in these negotiations. Yet the government is continuing to evade, confuse, and leave the heavy lifting to everyone else.”
For interviews please contact: Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or firstname.lastname@example.org