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Global report on Australian climate action: Good start, must do better

A "Climate Action Tracker" report released at the Durban climate conference overnight gives Australia a big tick for creating the framework for strong action with the Clean Energy Future package, but highlights the need to do much more to protect the climate, including lifting our weak 5% unconditional target, the Australian Greens said today.

The report, by the highly respected teams of Ecofys, Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, gives Australia a B grade overall, with an A for renewable energy policies but many E's and F's for industry, transport and forestry.

"The Climate Action Tracker backs the Greens' position, that the Clean Energy Future package is a solid foundation for strong further action, but must be used to drive that greater ambition," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

"Particularly given warnings in the latest scientific reports from the IPCC, World Meteorological Organisation and the Australia Climate Commission, the best thing the Gillard Government could do now to boost the chances of a global agreement is to ditch the 5% target and bring our ambition into line with the Bali Roadmap - 25-40% cuts below 1990 levels by 2020.

"One of the strengths of the Clean Energy Future package is the complete upward flexibility, and this report highlights the need for the Climate Change Authority, when it is established, to make full use of that flexibility in recommending carbon budgets and targets.

"Another great strength is the support for renewable energy, led by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA. These Greens achievements won Australia its only A on the Climate Action Tracker report card.

"The report notes that Australia is only on track to meet our Kyoto target because of loopholes the Howard Government created during the 1997 talks, including the infamous ‘Australia clause'. Now we need to get serious about actually transforming our economy instead of creating get-out-of-gaol-free cards.

"Global climate talks are still bogged down thanks to bad faith negotiations from developed countries and the refusal to embrace strong, science-based pollution cuts. Now is the time for Australia to lead by dropping the 5% target and move into the range the science requires."

Senator Milne will be attending the talks in Durban next week. She will be observing the talks and seeking to ensure that Australian negotiators do not try to avoid more ambition by creating more loopholes such as the infamous Australia clause from the 1997 talks.

The Climate Action Tracker report can be downloaded at http://www.climateactiontracker.org/

 

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