Australia is one of the highest per capita contributors to global warming. It’s a double irony therefore that Australia is also the most vulnerable inhabited continent and the country most obviously resisting the ‘heavy lifting’ required to effectively combat the most dangerous impacts of runaway climate change.
According to independent scientific analysis by Climate Tracker, Australia’s commitment at the Paris COP21 climate talks warranted an ‘inadequate’ rating, meaning that the promised emissions reductions are not in line with most interpretations of a “fair” approach to reach a 2°C pathway. In fact if most other countries followed the Australian approach, global warming would exceed 3–4°C.
To make matters worse it has now emerged that Team Turnbull did not even have any proper emissions reduction modelling for its inadequate Paris commitment! It really must have been tough and awkward being in the dark on the world stage. No wonder other nations initially baulked at Australia being allowed to join the so-called “coalition for ambition” in Paris.
Within weeks of signing the Paris Climate Agreement the Turnbull government moved to approve further mega coal and associated infrastructure projects, making a mockery of the Paris commitments. If those projects go ahead they will detonate a carbon bomb into the global atmosphere and contribute to the destruction of what remains of the Great Barrier Reef.
If emissions from Australia’s fossil fuel exports are taken into account (which they plainly should fairly be) then our already profligate emissions are actually a staggering three times higher than current estimates! Expressed another way Australia’s modus operandi appears to be to flood the global market with as many fossil fuels as we possibly can (while we can still get away with it) while blaming other nations for burning them! It is particularly bad that Australia is a wealthy country and is doing this knowingly, thereby wilfully distorting energy markets and holding back the renewable energy solutions urgently needed to help fight global warming.
So, it’s no surprise (but no less unsatisfactory) that Australia is dragging its feet over ratifying the Paris Agreement. There is even a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the Agreement that is being chaired by the embattled (again) MP Stuart Robert. While we can’t comment on Robert’s scientific qualifications, media reports of his apparent difficulty in discerning between the public interest and his own private interests are cause for further serious concerns.
ClimActs has made a detailed and considered submission to the Paris Agreement Inquiry. To give a voice to young people (who will unfairly bear the brunt of climate change), our submission includes a link to the huge number of children’s messages that the Climate Guardians hand delivered to COP21 delegates in Paris last year. We have urged the Committee to read them with open hearts and minds. It is to be hoped that they do.
Meanwhile, please stay tuned with our #KeepYourPromise campaign!