Call for Queensland to improve emissions targets as El Niño declared

A coalition of environment groups has released a joint letter calling on the Queensland Government to urgently improve its emissions reduction targets following today’s declaration that Australia will face hotter and drier conditions as a result of an El Niño event this summer.

The joint letter – signed by 14 groups representing more than 931,500 Queenslanders – calls on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to strengthen Queensland’s emissions reduction targets to at least 60% by 2030, 70% by 2032 and 90% below 2005 levels by 2035.

These targets would bring Queensland in line with the ambition of other states and closer to what climate science shows is the minimum required for Queensland to do its part to hold warming to 1.5°C.

The call for action comes on the day that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology declared an El Niño event and as Queenslanders prepare for the impacts of a long and hot summer with increased risk of drought and heatwaves.

Dave Copeman, Director of the Queensland Conservation Council, said:

“We know the devastating impacts of extreme heat events on Queensland, and we urge the government to announce significantly more ambitious targets before the peak of summer hits.”

“Our current emissions reduction targets are too low, too slow, and put Queensland's people and nature at risk. Our organisations represent over 930,000 Queenslanders and we stand ready to support an increase in the speed of emissions reductions.”

Ariane Wilkinson, Senior Manager of Climate and Energy policy at WWF-Australia, said:

“The World Heritage Committee has just put the Australian and Queensland governments on probation for their climate action by endorsing UNESCO’s recommendations on the Great Barrier Reef.”

“Queensland can and must do more to reduce emissions. Stronger targets this decade would ensure we don’t miss out on clean jobs and investment opportunities as the world moves to net zero. If we fail to act then it’s not just the World Heritage status of our iconic Reef that’s at risk - it’s our incredible way of life here in Queensland.”  

Gavan McFadzean, Manager, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program at Australian Conservation Foundation, said:

“The Palaszczuk Government’s emissions reduction targets are not credible and nowhere near what the science says is needed to protect Queensland’s communities and unique natural environment.”

“With global heating records being broken around the world in recent months, and after the hottest winter ever here in Australia, the Palaszczuk Government should not delay in significantly lifting climate ambition before what is likely to be our hottest summer on record.”

Cherry Muddle, Senior Great Barrier Reef Campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said:

“Scientists have warned about the prospect of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef this summer due to the combination of human-caused ocean warming and an El Niño event.”

“Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, and Queensland is one of the biggest carbon emissions polluters per capita in the world. The Queensland Government must double its 2030 emissions reduction target if it wants any chance of limiting warming to 1.5OC – a critical threshold for coral reefs to survive.”

The groups that have signed today’s joint letter include the Queensland Conservation Council, WWF-Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Marine Conservation Society, GetUp, Solar Citizens, North Queensland Conservation Council, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, Gladstone Conservation Council, Sunshine Coast Environment Centre, Capricorn Conservation Council, Mackay Conservation Group, Gecko Environment Council, and Energetic Communities Association.

For media interviews, please contact: 

Josh Meadows, Australian Conservation Foundation, 0439 342 992

Dave Copeman, Queensland Conservation Council 0408841595

Paul Fahy, WWF-Australia, 0455 528 161

Alex Tibbitts, Australian Marine Conservation Society, 0416 420 168

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