Media Release

Tuesday: 11th August 2015

The Government’s target is to become the world’s most carbon dependent economy!

The Abbott Government is dragging us backwards on climate action as the international community steps up to head off catastrophic climate change at the Paris summit in December, said Bathurst Community Climate Action Network today.

“The majority of Australians want real action on climate change and emissions reductions which will at least limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius as agreed,” said BCCAN President Ms Tracey Carpenter said.   “But our Government’s emissions reduction target is too little too late and leaves us with a toxic economy that is the scorn of future generations and the rest of the world.”

“Australia’s failure to put forward responsible targets for emissions reduction has led the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to name Australia a “free-rider” on climate change”. 

“US and China have questioned whether Australia will even meet its – inadequate – emissions reductions targets through its ‘direct action’ scheme, and others have questioned the fairness of Australia’s weak targets when the rest of the world is doing so much more.“

“Strong action needs to be taken to get the Australian economy off its carbon addiction,” Ms Carpenter said.  “We need to embrace the opportunities of renewable energy to meet our global responsibilities to decarbonise our economy.”

Australia has again shifted its reporting baseline – from 1990 to 2000 and now to 2005 – to lessen its mitigation task but also make it seem tougher. Depending on whether the 26% reduction includes or excludes land use factors, it is equivalent to merely 8% below 1990 levels (or -20% with land use factors) and 21% below 2000 levels (or -15% including land use).

By contrast the Climate Change Authority recommended a scientifically informed, globally equitable emissions target for Australia of between 40-60% below a 2000 baseline by 2030.

The Abbott government’s target for Australia will provide other laggard states with comfort and cover. In doing so it holds back already insufficient global mitigation efforts.