Australia’s lack of action on pollution reduction targets has made the country a laughing stock on the international stage, according to senator Larissa Waters
April 23, 2016 — Australia’s lack of follow-through on climate change will leave the Great Barrier Reef “completely cooked” despite it signing the Paris climate deal, the Greens say.
The federal environmental minister, Greg Hunt, has joined leaders from 170 other countries in New York to sign the Paris Agreement to limit global warming by at least 2°C.
Hunt says Australia will beat its Kyoto emission reduction targets by 78m tonnes and meet a 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels.
“These are some of the highest targets anywhere in the world and certainly on a per capita basis we’re right at the top,” he told the ABC from New York on Saturday.
But the Greens senator Larissa Waters says Australia signing the agreement won’t enable it to avoid warming of 3°C to 4°C if it’s not backed up by action.
“Unfortunately, minister Hunt likes to bandy about some figures but Australia has been a laughing stock on the international stage,” she said.
“Our pollution reduction targets are so far below the science and people know that our policies aren’t even getting us towards those very low targets.”
Senator Waters rejected the government’s commitment of a further $11m on projects to continue improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef following a study this week showing 93% of the reef was bleached.
She pointed to the Queensland and federal government’s backing of the Adani coal mine, which critics say will further imperil the reef.
“We need to really have a change of policy when it comes to approving every coal mine anyone ever thinks of and instead really fund and support the transition and speed it up to clean-energy,” Senator Waters said.