With a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calling for a rapid and radical cut to greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian Greens say it's time for the Abbott government to get out of the way of Australia's transformation into a low-carbon economy.
"The Abbott government needs to give up the protection racket for Australia's big polluters and start protecting communities. They need to get out of the way of the positive transition that's happening and stop trying to take this country backwards," said Greens Leader Christine Milne.
"This IPCC report reinforces the Greens' focus on evidence-based policies to help get Australia off fossil fuels and onto renewable energy, now.
"The game is up, we have run out of time. The IPCC has confirmed what is clearly apparent - we are not just predicting, but actually observing the impacts of global warming.
"We, as Australians, must not only accept our fair share of global responsibility, but it is in our interest to limit climate change, in the face of extreme fires, cyclones, heat waves and storms.
"The good news is that if we act fast we can create jobs in new manufacturing and innovative businesses. If we don't - if we keep digging up, cutting down and shipping away our resources - there will be a huge opportunity cost to our economy.
"The Abbott government can no longer pretend that ‘business as usual' is possible. The IPCC has made it clear that we need to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and that means moving rapidly to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.
"To limit global warming to 2 degrees we need a trebling of clean energy sources and Australia is actually on course to get there. All Tony Abbott has to do is leave the existing laws in place and retain or increase the ambition of the Renewable Energy Target and the Clean Energy Future Package," said Senator Milne.
"Governments around the world spend six times more supporting polluting fuels than they do supporting renewables. If this were reversed, the new IPCC report says it's not the poor that would be hit, but the wealthy.
"Australia is a case in point. We could raise $10 billion by ending fuel subsidies for mining companies, but instead this government is looking to raise $750 million with GP co-payments, not to mention slashing the pension, reneging on Gonski school reforms, and attacking the ABC.
"So investors, beware. The future of Australia is not in coal or unconventional gas.
"Tony Abbott is governing for the big end of town, but that's short-sighted and irresponsible and the Greens will do everything in our power to increase action on global warming," said Senator Milne.
Climate change is number one on the list of 10 key policy priorities agreed upon at the Greens' National Council in Melbourne today, which Senator Milne is committed to leading her party to deliver on, over the next three years:
Protect and build on the Clean Energy Package by abolishing subsidies and other support for fossil fuel industries.
Coal, Coal Seam Gas, and Shale Gas
Stop new coal, coal seam gas, and shale gas projects through supporting local communities to stand up against these projects to protect food and water security.
Protect universal healthcare and address health inequalities by securing greater investment for the publicly funded healthcare system.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recognition
Achieve constitutional recognition of the first people of Australia.
Oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements that lack transparency and that prioritise corporate rights over the public interest.
Implement fiscal measures to counter speculative investment in housing, which is a cause of housing stress and homelessness.
Implement Optional Preferential above-the-line senate voting and campaign financing reform to increase transparency and democratic accountability.
Treat all asylum seekers with humanity and fairness, and in accordance with international law, by firstly releasing all children from detention, closing off-shore detention centres, increasing Australia's humanitarian intake and providing safer pathways to Australia.
Maintain public schools, TAFEs and universities in public hands, and prioritise the funding of educational institutions to ensure they have sufficient resources and facilities to meet the educational needs of all students.
Reform the tax system to reduce inequality, remove tax loopholes and restructure the economy by rewarding productive activity that avoids pollution, degradation of natural resources and economic "rent seeking".