‘Prime Minister Tony Abbott’ faced the crossroads of climate action on the front lawn outside Parliament House on Tuesday 16 June at 9.30am.
Ahead of an expected Cabinet meeting this week (wb 15 June) to discuss Australia’s post-2020 emissions reductions targets, Oxfam is highlighting the urgent need for action on climate change, as the countdown begins to global climate change talks in Paris later this year.
A person dressed as Prime Minister Tony Abbott – with oversize fibreglass head and wearing a suit and gumboots – stood in front of a giant signpost pointing one way to a photographic image signifying action on climate change, and the other to climate change inaction.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy advisor Dr Simon Bradshaw said that as a leading international agency working with poor people around the world, Oxfam was seeing the world’s most vulnerable facing immense suffering from climate change, including food and water shortages, and loss of land and homes.
“Climate change is threatening to derail global progress in the fight against poverty,” Dr Bradshaw said. “The Australian Government needs to understand the real threat already being posed by climate change and the pressing need to reach a fair and effective global climate agreement in Paris that limits warming to well below 2 degrees.
“Earlier this year, we saw how Cyclone Pam brought devastation and suffering to Vanuatu and other Pacific nations, destroying crops and contaminating water.
“Australia’s emissions per person remain higher than any other developed country. We must start doing our fair share and contributing towards a strong international agreement, otherwise we will increasingly be called upon to respond to disasters in our region.”
Oxfam is urging the Australian Government to come to the table with an ambitious new set of emissions reduction targets and a strong plan for supporting poorer countries to meet the challenges of climate change.
Next month, Australia is expected to announce its provisional targets for the post-2020 period, when the new agreement is due to take effect. Oxfam wants the government to commit to reducing Australia’s emissions by at least 40 per cent below 2000 levels by 2025 and at least 60 per cent by 2030, with a plan to reach zero emissions as soon as possible and well before mid-century.
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