Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions data and climate policy review: disheartening greetings this festive season

MEDIA RELEASE: December 19, 2017 

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions data and climate policy review: disheartening greetings this festive season.

Today, the Department of the Environment and Energy released delayed reports that tell the story of Australia’s weak climate action, including the Quarterly Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the Climate Change Policy Review.

Although the Greenhouse Gas Inventory is immersed in the Federal Government’s narrative of their “effective” climate policies, it cannot hide the fact that our emissions have risen for the third consecutive year.

Australia’s emissions (including land use, land use change and forestry) rose 1.3 percent in the year to June 2017, setting us on a path to global warming over 2°C.

The Review suggests that existing Direct Action policies are successfully achieving emissions reduction and will, with some amendments, meet Federal emissions reduction targets. Even if the Turnbull Government’s policies achieve Australia’s weak targets, they will fail to address emissions at their source and deliver on our Paris commitment to work towards zero net emissions by 2050.

We need to shift to a clean energy economy and put a stop to our reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels today. With our Federal Government failing to provide coherent climate change policy, it is up to the states and territories to deliver on our Paris commitments. “For Queensland, Australia’s largest emitting state, this means we need to be doing more to transition our economy away from fossil fuels,” says the Queensland Conservation Council.

Although existing Queensland policies recognise climate action is in our interest, in the absence of effective national measures, Queensland’s existing targets are not ambitious enough. “If we want to protect our State’s vulnerable species and ecosystems and build an economy that has a role in future zero net emissions markets, existing targets must be ratcheted up and supported by actions now,” says the Queensland Conservation Council.

With the Quarterly Inventory reflecting the ineffectiveness of Federal policies, the Queensland Government should send a message to Turnbull. We need a strong national mechanism that provides markets with certainty that there is no future for expensive and damaging fossil fuels in Australia.

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