What are Labor’s policies on climate action for intergenerational equity, Bill Shorten? Apr 2015

To print your letter click the link below:

What are Labor’s policies on climate action for intergenerational equity, Bill Shorten? Apr 2015

A Trifecta of Damning Environmental Policies

Three policy papers published by the Abbott government in the last few months have shown just how intransigently wedded this government is to its free market ideals.  They are :

the Intergenerational Report,

the Issues Paper on Australia’s Post 2020 Emissions Reductions Targets and

the Energy White Paper.

Their response, in all three, to climate change is to wilfully ignore it.

Climate change is the greatest intergenerational issue of the 21st century, yet the Abbott government’s Intergenerational Report, released last month, devoted only three and a half pages out of 170 to the issue.

Commenting on the report, John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, said “If you don’t have a plan for climate change, you don’t have a plan for the future.  A sensible plan will lay out how we can help to avoid 2 degrees C warming, and include a decarbonisation pathway to phase down our greenhouse gas emissions to zero by mid-century”.

He stated that the World Bank and OECD have highlighted the enormous economic and social costs of warming beyond 2 degrees C and have called for a zero emissions global economy, and that Australia’s failure to plan thoroughly for the climate trends of coming decades would be an act not just of intergenerational theft but also of intergenerational recklessness.

An Issues Paper on Australia’s post 2020 emissions reductions targets, that will be set before global climate talks in Paris in December, was also published by the government last month.  It has been criticised for using a global energy scenario that would put the world on track for nearly 4 degrees of warming, which scientists warn would cause catastrophic climate change.

In Australia, global warming of this magnitude is projected to produce the following consequences: significant loss of species (including within the Great Barrier Reef), dangerous water shortages, severe damage to coastal infrastructure and settlements, large areas of agricultural land taken out of production, strains on the capacity to meet food demand, and major risks to human life from extreme climate events.

Next to come was the Abbott government’s Energy White Paper, released in early April.  Described by the Climate Institute as “wilfully deluded”, incredibly it mentions climate change only once.

The Sydney Morning Herald editorial on 13.4.15 was scathing of the Paper, stating that:

“The omission renders the document deeply flawed”, and that

“Australia’s White Paper is a highly political document.”

“The burning of fossil fuels is the world’s single most important contributor to greenhouse gases and therefore to climate change.  Yet the White Paper virtually ignores this link that is central to its subject.”

“The White Paper’s approach is that of the classic free-marketeer: governments should not intervene to modify energy consumers’ behaviour”.

The Paper argues that no single energy source should be prioritised over another, and that such decisions should be left for the market to determine.

It also stands by the government’s efforts to slash the Renewable Energy Target by 40 per cent, which have caused the loss of over 2,000 clean energy jobs in the past two years; and its intention to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Climate Institute described the White Paper as “a wilfully deluded document, whose recommendations side-step the challenges and opportunities facing our energy sector in a world of cleaner, smarter energy systems”.

In view of the above, we have decided that it is pointless to send any further letters to the Abbott government and now impossible to vote for it. We will put together a letter to let it know of this decision and send it to you shortly.

For now, we will concentrate instead on asking, with urgency, that the Labor government commit to policies at its Annual Conference in July that will result in effective action on climate change.

To print your letter click the link below:

What are Labor’s policies on climate action for intergenerational equity, Bill Shorten? Apr 2015

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