STATES AND TERRITORIES have once again done the heavy lifting on reducing Australia’s emissions while the Federal Government continues to confuse a pandemic for climate action.
The latest National Greenhouse Gas Inventory data shows a 4.4 percent decline in emissions in the year to September 2020.
“COVID-19 has impacted our economy and transport sector dramatically, while emissions reductions in the electricity sector are due to state and territory-led wind and solar projects coming online in recent months,” said Climate Council senior researcher Tim Baxter.
“Every state and territory has a net zero emissions target, and is embracing clean, affordable renewable energy to get there. The Federal Government should be supporting this change instead of planning to spend billions of public dollars on polluting, unccessessary gas projects,” he said.
“The Federal Government can take zero credit for the emissions reductions posted today. These reductions have happened in spite of the Federal Government, not because of it,” said Mr Baxter.
Most of Australia’s major trading partners have committed to a net zero emissions target by 2050, including South Korea, the UK, the US, the EU, Japan and China. Countries like Japan and the EU are also contemplating ‘carbon tariffs’ on imports from high-emitting nations like Australia.
“Australia’s climate inaction is a major economic risk and could leave us saddled with stranded fossil fuels assets and costly export tariffs. It also worsens climate change, which is harming Australians already and getting worse,” said Mr Baxter.
“The Federal Government cannot rely on a pandemic to keep its emissions suppressed. Emissions will rise again unless we change the way we create and use energy, get around, and make products,” he said.
“We need a national commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2040 at the latest. Federal and state Governments must abandon the myth of a gas-led recovery and invest in renewables, which will cut pollution, create thousands of new jobs, and reduce electricity prices,” said Mr Baxter.
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