Labor’s climate change policy leaves room for improvement

Climate Change, General, Media Releases, News article written on the 27 Apr 2016

Responding to the Australian Labor Party’s Climate Change Action Plan, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:

“Labor’s targets are clearly a welcome improvement on what the Turnbull Government is currently committed to, but they are not yet consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the level of action that will be expected of Australia over the coming years.

“To have a hope of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5C – a limit rightly demanded by the world’s most vulnerable countries – a country like Australia needs to be reducing its carbon pollution by at least 65-80% by 2030 and reaching zero emissions well before mid-century.

“While Labor has committed to phase out all of Australia’s coal-fired power stations, Oxfam is disappointed it has not ruled out new coal mines. The reality is that 90 per cent of Australia’s coal reserves would need to be left unburned to secure even a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 C.

“In addition to a concrete plan for moving to a zero-carbon Australian economy, all parties must have a clear vision of how they will support developing countries with meeting the challenges of climate change.

“Australia is surrounded by some of the most vulnerable countries on earth to the impacts of climate change. For our neighbours in the Pacific, the impacts of shifting weather patterns, rising seas and destructive storms are already stark.

“The months since Paris have delivered forceful reminders of what is at stake – news of temperature records shattered, devastating bleaching of the reef, and the second category five cyclone to make landfall in the Pacific in as many years.

“We look forward to hearing commitments from all parties to increase Australia’s support to developing countries adapting to climate impacts.”

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