A new report by the Climate Council finds the Federal Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the public in the dark on climate change.
“I think most Australians would be outraged if they knew the full story. The Coalition Government has slashed climate science funding, censored important information and repeatedly made false claims,” said the Climate Council’s CEO, Amanda McKenzie.
“The Federal Government censored a UNESCO report on climate change and World Heritage sites, convincing the UN agency to delete all references to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. This is not the kind of behaviour we expect from a democratic country,” said the Climate Council’s Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.
“The Federal Government has repeatedly tried to avoid scrutiny by releasing greenhouse gas emissions data just before Christmas or on the eve of football grand finals, when fewer people are paying attention,” he said.
“Climate Cuts, Cover-Ups and Censorship” Key Findings:
- The Government’s tenure has been characterised by slashing climate science funding, cutting effective climate change programs, rejecting advice from expert domestic and international bodies, misleading claims from Federal Ministers, a lack of any effective climate programs, and consistently covering up poor performance.
- Deep funding cuts and job losses at the CSIRO have weakened Australia’s climate science capability. As a result, Australia is unprepared to cope with the impacts of climate change.
- The government’s lack of climate change action is the defining leadership failure of the past decade. We have not tackled climate change, the consequences are with us, and we must work very quickly to prevent catastrophic consequences.
- Australia’s next government must adopt credible climate policy and a transparent and accurate approach to reporting and tracking Australia’s climate performance to ensure the public can appropriately evaluate its performance.
“The test of a good climate policy is simple. It must be aligned with the science, it must be clear and effective, and it must deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions consistent with the Paris targets. Our current policy fails on all three counts,” said Climate Councillor, Professor Will Steffen.
“On this pathetic performance, Australia is unlikely to meet its weak 2030 emissions reduction target. And yet senior ministers continue to falsely claim that emissions are going down and that our Paris targets will be met,” said Professor Steffen.
“Delaying action has not made the problem go away. It has just reduced the time we have left to cut emissions and made it more challenging to do so. The Federal Government has squandered many opportunities and this will cost us dearly,” he said.
Australia has recently experienced its Angriest Summer as climate change accelerates.
“Heatwaves have become hotter and last longer, while droughts, intense rainfall and bushfire conditions have become more severe,” said Ms McKenzie.
“As Australians experience escalating consequences into the future, they are likely to view this period of missed opportunities and failed leadership with deep dismay,” she said.