AUSTRALIA’S RESPONSE to intensifying extreme weather events remains at the bottom of the national agenda, after the Federal Budget tonight failed to deliver funding towards measures to tackle worsening climate change.
Climate Council Acting CEO Dr Martin Rice said it was disappointing the Federal Government’s 2018 Budget had appeared to ignore climate change, despite the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution levels continuing to rise for more than three consecutive years.
“The Federal Government’s continuous failure to seriously tackle climate change is an embarrassment,” he said.
“Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the developed world, with worsening extreme weather events including severe heatwaves, supercharged storms, heavy rainfall, flooding, droughts and bushfires.”
Budget 2018 has proposed $37.6 million over five years towards implementing the recommendations of the Finkel Review, the Energy Security Board’s planned National Energy Guarantee (NEG) and improving the functioning of the gas market but fell short on new funding to embrace the rollout of clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology.
“Australia is at risk of further cementing its reputation as a global laggard when it comes to slashing growing greenhouse gas pollution levels and tackling climate change. We cannot continue to sit on our hands, while nations like New Zealand and France show real climate leadership.”
Dr Rice said the Federal Government’s earlier budget announcement of a $500 million Great Barrier Reef package would do little to tackle the biggest threat to the iconic reef that was devastated by back to back bleaching in 2016 and 2017.
“$500 million towards combating water quality issues, such as agricultural runoff and the culling of the crown-of-thorns-starfish will do little to address the root cause of the problem and is nothing more than a gold-plated bandaid solution,” he said.
“Intensifying climate change is the real culprit, responsible for driving severe marine heatwaves leading to unprecedented mass coral bleaching in 2016 and again in 2017.”
“The solution is here. Australia must rollout credible climate and energy policy that ramps up our transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology, while moving away from our polluting fossil fuel past. The only thing standing in our way is political will.”
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