The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 but says it’s not a win for the climate without a plan to seriously cut emissions this decade.
Australia must match the 2030 targets by key international trading partners to the tune of at least 50% emissions reduction this decade.
“Bipartisan support for net zero by 2050 is welcome but the mid-century goal is only meaningful with deep cuts to climate pollution this decade,” said ACF Chief Executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
“The biggest and most in-depth survey ever conducted of Australians’ opinions on climate change found a majority support action to cut climate emissions by at least half by 2030.
“The cost of too little action this decade far outweighs the cost of transitioning to a low pollution economy.
“This discussion has been too focused on internal politics and not enough on the impact it will have on our climate and protecting nature.
“Any attempt to weaken Australia’s environment law as a trade-off with the Nationals will threaten Australian wildlife like the koala with extinction and should be opposed by members of parliament.
“It makes zero sense to weaken nature protection laws to get emissions down because protecting forests is the most practical way to capture and store carbon.
“It would also be wrong to include an extension of the inland rail between Toowoomba and Gladstone as part of a deal to reach net zero by 2050.
“This rail project would open the corridors for nine new thermal coal mines, which flies in the face of real climate action.
“There are practical solutions ready now to fast track emissions cuts and they will create jobs and prosperity.
“Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing coal and gas with renewable energy.
“We have abundant clean energy, tools and talent, but we cannot delay any longer.”