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Nature & Wildlife


Climate Action in Australia

Prime Minister Morrison took only one change to Australia’s inadequate climate policy to the Glascow climate conference – the commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) climate change and clean energy campaigner Suzanne Hartner was scathing about the Federal Government’s position on climate.  “There’s no genuine strategy, no reasonable interim targets or any appropriate investment. There’s no phase-out plan for fossil fuels, no carbon pricing and the technology roadmap relies on technologies that don’t even exist yet.

“There’s no national renewable energy policy and we’re one of the few OECD countries without efficiency standards for vehicles.

“Not only do we not have a policy, but the government is promoting the opposite direction. If anything, the government is giving more money to fossil fuels, such as with the gas-fired recovery.”

Climate action in Australia is happening despite the lacklustre performance and obstruction of the Federal Government. All of the state and territory governments, irrespective of the political party in government, have committed to net zero by 2050 and are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions in the short term. Over a month ago the NSW Government said that by 2030 it would reduce its emissions to 50% below its 2005 level.

The Business Council of Australia supports net zero by 2050 and urged the government to increase its 2030 target from the 26-28% to a 46-50% cut.  Individual major businesses support both the 2050 target and much more ambitious 2030 targets.

Polls show that Australians are becoming increasingly concerned about climate change and want more federal government action. A survey of 15,000 Australians across all federal House of Representatives electorates in July on behalf of the ACF found 67% of voters want more action on climate change.

The Prime Minister’s recent backflip on electric vehicles (limited and inadequate as it is as a policy) shows the message about community and business concern may finally be getting to the Government as the election draws closer.  How many more desperate cosmetic changes will we see in the next few months? 

Leonie Blain