Australia failing to measure up against Paris Agreement

Climate Change, Emergencies, General, GROW, Media Releases, News article written on the 14 Apr 2016

Australia’s actions on climate change fall woefully short of the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Government must immediately lift its game, Oxfam has said, as world leaders prepare to formally sign the agreement in New York next week.

An Oxfam report released today comparing the policies of Australia’s main political parties highlights that greater vision and commitments are needed to align Australia with efforts to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celcius.  It also points to the urgent need to strengthen commitments around support for developing countries and vulnerable communities dealing with the challenges of climate change.

Oxfam Australia’s Climate Change Policy Advisor Simon Bradshaw said that while the Paris Agreement had lit a beacon of hope, it was clear that the real challenges still lie ahead.

“Within months of the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December, the world faced a series of terrifying reminders of what is at stake and the great urgency of taking stronger action,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“Cyclone Winston became the second category five cyclone to make landfall in the Pacific in as many seasons, killing at least 43 people and destroying entire villages. Temperature records were broken yet again, with February the most abnormally warm month on record globally, and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef was revealed to be far worse than first feared.

“As we approach the 2016 federal election, Australia needs a visionary plan of action that brings us into line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement, and this should be at the heart of all parties’ agendas.”

More than 130 countries, including Australia, have confirmed that they will sign the Paris Agreement at a signing ceremony in New York on Friday 22 April. But Oxfam’s report, Bringing Paris Home: How Australia measures up against the new global climate agreement, finds the gap between what the agreement demands and the level of commitments Australia currently has on the table remains extraordinarily wide.

“Australia has all it needs to be part of today’s climate and energy solutions, and to create a brighter future for Australia and the world,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“A majority of Australians support stronger action, but big polluters, vested interests and failures of political leadership are holding us back.

“If we are to have any chance of preventing catastrophic climate change we must rapidly decarbonise the Australian economy and commit to reduce carbon emissions to zero well before mid century.

“Australia must also provide adequate support to developing countries so that they can fulfil their clean energy plans and adapt to climate change, and we must protect the rights of vulnerable communities including those who face permanent losses due to climate change.

For a copy of the report click here Images from climate change affected countries including Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, can be downloaded here.

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