Cli­mate tar­get bad for reef

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has re­cently an­nounced their 2030 car­bon emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­get of 26-28%. Pa­thetic but not sur­pris­ing. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is wed­ded to the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try, in par­tic­u­lar, coal.

This cosy re­la­tion­ship will cost Aus­tralia dearly both at home and abroad. There is global agree­ment that all na­tions must jointly en­sure the planet does not warm past two de­grees Cel­sius, com­pared to pre-in­dus­trial lev­els.

Even that ceil­ing is now con­sid­ered dan­ger­ously high with 1.5 de­grees con­sid­ered a safer limit.

The first and most im­por­tant test of the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get is whether it is in line with this limit. The an­swer is a re­sound­ing “no”.

It is con­sis­tent with warm­ing of three to four de­grees. That gives it a “fail” on the most ba­sic test.

Im­por­tantly, that test can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween avoid­ing the most cat­a­strophic im­pacts of cli­mate change and al­low­ing them to hap­pen. GBRMPA puts cli­mate change as the great­est threat to the reef.

The Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent cli­mate pol­icy will quite likely cost us the reef.

The gov­ern­ment’s weak tar­get also keeps Aus­tralia in the em­bar­rass­ing and un­palat­able po­si­tion of be­ing the high­est per per­son car­bon pol­luter in the OECD. That is the case now and it will still be the case in 2030 with the cur­rent tar­get. Not good enough. The gov­ern­ment still has the chance to be re­spon­si­ble about cli­mate change and strengthen this tar­get. It can be done at the Paris cli­mate change con­fer­ence at the end of the year. Now is the time for ev­ery­one who cares about leav­ing a live­able Aus­tralia for com­ing gen­er­a­tions to lift their voices and let the Gov­ern­ment know that this mat­ters.

It’s not that Aus­tralia can’t af­ford to do some­thing about this. In fact, we can’t af­ford not to. Our fu­ture de­pends upon a healthy cli­mate. And the longer we leave se­ri­ous ac­tion, the harder it will be. Bev­er­ley Fontes Air­lie Beach

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