Oxfam Urges Australian Government To Do More On Climate Change

Oxfam Australia wants the Australian Government to take urgent measures to meet the country’s international responsibilities on climate change following the publication of the Climate Change Authority’s Targets and Progress Review.

Currently the Federal Government targets a 5 per cent cut in emissions and the report recommends a reduction of around four times that amount.

Dr Simon Bradshaw  Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam Australia says the report suggests Australia is no longer in synch with the international community, arguing that Australia should have a target emissions cut of 19 per cent by the year 2020.

 “By setting our sights so low, we are working against Australia’s national interest in seeing a strong global response to climate change, as well as the interests of the Asia-Pacific region. This summer’s extreme heat has reminded us once again of the brute reality of climate change; meanwhile, Australia is neighbour to some of the most ‘climate vulnerable’ countries on earth. From the low-lying Pacific island states to the flood-prone countries of the Mekong Delta, many of Australia’s closest neighbours are already facing extreme pressures from shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and other changes. Climate Change hits poorer countries first and hardest – the same countries with the least historical responsibility for carbon pollution.” Dr Bradshaw said.

Dr. Bradshaw added as a wealthy country with plenty of potential for renewable energy Australia was in a good position to lead a transition to a cleaner economy.

According to Dr. Bradshaw it was in the country’s interest to play a leading role international to address the climate change issue over the coming years.

Oxfam argues that the Federal Government should not break up the climate change authority which is an important independent body. Instead the government should seek to build Australia’s institutions and climate laws.

Dr. Bradshaw says the country needs a long term plan for addressing climate change that is developed on the basis of sound independent analysis and has ambitious targets for cutting Australian emissions and providing support for vulnerable countries to adapt to changes that are now unavoidable.

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