168 nations (169 parties) that have ratified the Paris Agreement, including Australia, will meet in Bonn, Germany over the next week to discuss progress and the finer details surrounding the implementation of the historic international commitment to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees.
Climate Councillor and climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said the Federal Government will be expected to face global leaders and delegates during the High Level Segment of COP23 commencing on November 15.
“If slashing global greenhouse pollution levels was the Melbourne Cup, Australia would be stuck in the stalls, while the rest of the world gallops ahead,” he said.
“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have climbed upwards every quarter since March 2015, while much of the developed world has begun the journey towards net-zero.”
Professor Steffen said Australia’s Pacific neighbour Fiji is chairing the Bonn climate talks, with the impact of intensifying climate change already being felt in small island nations in the region.
“Although this COP meeting is being held in Germany, Fiji is hosting and representing our part of the world. A major emphasis is on the vulnerability of island states across the Pacific – Australia’s own neighbours.”
“Australia needs to think about our Pacific neighbours too. Our emissions reduction targets are far too weak to tackle climate change effectively. Our lack of action to slash emissions increases the risks not only for Australians, but also for nations like Fiji, putting them in increasingly dangerous and vulnerable positions as the sea level rises and intense tropical cyclone activity increases.”
Professor Steffen said decades of interference by vested interests and a lack of political courage on climate and energy policy have left Australia in the dangerous position of having no coherent national approach to climate change.
“The Bonn climate talks should serve as yet another warning to the Federal Government that our ‘business as usual’ approach to tackling climate change is not working.
“Australia is at risk of cementing its reputation as the global climate laggard. It’s up to the Federal Government to take swift action now, to seriously and rapidly reduce pollution and tackle climate change through the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology.”
The COP23 Bonn climate talks are held between 6 – 17 November, 2017. For more information visit here.
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