​Paris Agreement signed! But Australia lags behind

22.04.16 By

Australia has made little progress since the Paris agreement despite major advances globally.

Environment minister Greg Hunt joined world leaders and diplomats at New York’s UN headquarters this morning to sign the Paris climate agreement.

In total 175 countries signed the agreement, setting a record for international diplomacy and potentially paving the way for the pact to become effective long before its 2020 deadline, subject to countries first formally approving it through their own domestic channels.

Some of the steps taken by other countries since the agreement include:

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said Australia had made no progress since Paris.

“Our emissions are continuing to rise, particularly in the electricity sector, while electricity emissions in the US declined 18% last year,” she said.

“The impacts of climate change are now being felt nationwide. Hot days have doubled in Australia and our bushfire season began in October and is still ongoing in April in many parts of the country. Record-breaking ocean temperatures have caused devastating bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Climate science funding has been gutted and 1.3 billion dollars is being ripped out of renewables investment.”

Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes said the stability of the climate continued to deteriorate in the absence of any real action in Australia but that action worldwide gave her hope.

“Last month was the hottest March on record globally and the eleventh consecutive month to break its monthly temperature record,” she said.

“That’s the longest streak in 137 years of record keeping and the largest departure from the monthly average ever recorded.

“The signing of the agreement in Paris is another reminder that the world is moving to tackle this issue but Australia is falling well short of the mark when it comes to effectively tackling climate change.”