Business urges Australia to play fair part in tackling climate change

Climate Change, Media Releases article written on the 17 Sep 2015

Oxfam has welcomed a strong statement from some of Australia’s largest and most influential companies acknowledging the key role business must play in tackling climate change and the need for Australia to play its fair part in global action.

Oxfam Australia Climate Policy Advisor Kelly Dent said the recognition of responsibility and call to action put further pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to immediately raise Australia’s commitments ahead of critical negotiations in Paris.

“The message from Australia’s largest and most influential companies could not be clearer: climate change presents immense risks for our community and economy, business is ready to work with government on solutions, and it’s time for Australia to play its fair part in global action,” Ms Kelly said.

Ms Dent said the statement was an unequivocal signal from across the Australian business sector and the latest sign of positive momentum ahead of Paris, but emphasised the need for all stakeholders to fully recognise the level of action required.

“Oxfam welcomes this call, however, both business and government must explicitly acknowledge the scope of action required to avoid a future of devastating impacts for the world’s poorest communities.

“While climate change affects us all, it is hitting poorer countries first and hardest. Already we are seeing communities in our region hit by rising seas, shifting rainfall, and intense storms. Put simply, climate change is the greatest challenge in the fight against hunger and poverty.

“We welcome the support for the current goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C, but stress that many countries, including our Pacific neighbours, are rightly calling for a limit of 1.5°C, based on clear evidence that the impacts associated with 2°C of warming will push communities beyond their ability to adapt. We urge Australian companies and the government to commit to this stronger goal.”

Today’s statement is signed by the CEOs of some of Australia’s biggest energy, mining, food, finance, infrastructure, property and retail companies, including BHP Billiton, Santos, Unilever, Wesfarmers, Westpac, AGL, GE and Mirvac.

“Playing our fair part in tackling global climate change means rapidly decarbonising the Australian economy and providing adequate support to developing countries to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change and avoiding future emissions,” Ms Dent said.

“As we approach the Paris negotiations, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can reclaim Australia’s international standing by strengthening Australia’s emissions targets and committing new funding to support climate action in developing countries, in line with the international commitment to mobilse $100bn dollars a year by 2020. This is an early test of leadership. Mr Turnbull must do everything he can to help ensure Paris delivers for the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

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