The contrast between US and Australian action on climate change could not be more striking today, Oxfam Australia has said.
US President Barack Obama has just announced new environmental regulations that will force power stations to cut emissions by 32 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy advisor Dr Simon Bradshaw said the Australian Government’s weak climate change policies stood in stark contrast.
“While the Australian Government continues to undermine renewable energy and pander to the fossil fuel industry, the US is making significant efforts to reduce the emissions from its power sector, ramp up renewable energy and energy efficiency, and move more rapidly away from coal,” Dr Bradshaw said.
Oxfam is seeing the world’s poorest people made even more vulnerable through the increasing risk of droughts, floods, hunger and disease due to climate change.
The new US policy is a strengthening of the previous proposal of a 30 per cent cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.
“Alone, this new policy will not meet the US 26-28 per cent reduction target by 2025. But its successful implementation is absolutely necessary to help the US meet that initial goal, along with the much stronger long-term goals that will be required to limit warming to well below 2 degrees,” Dr Bradshaw said.
“It’s yet another sign that major economies are moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and will provide further momentum to the Paris climate change negotiations later this year.
“All eyes are now on the Australian Government to see how strong a post 2020 emissions reduction target it will announce next week.”
Last Wednesday, Oxfam launched a report, Powering Up Against Poverty, which challenged coal industry spin about coal and poverty to show that coal is not the solution to improving energy access in developing countries.
Dr Bradshaw said Australia must rapidly phase out coal from its own energy supply and, as a wealthy developed country, do far more to support developing countries with their own renewable energy plans.
Oxfam works with communities around the world to help them adapt to climate change, from helping people in Timor Leste to diversify their crops in order to cope with a changing climate, to supporting communities in Bangladesh to better prepare for disasters such as cyclones, floods and droughts.
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