The resounding theme of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York is the need for urgent, global action on climate change.
This reflects the overwhelming mood of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who participated in hundreds of the People’s Climate March on the weekend.
Earlier today President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that “we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation, developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass.”
It is time for Tony Abbott to wake up and listen to the rest of the world: climate change is happening and genuine action needs to happen.
As world leaders make ambitious and firm commitments to shift to clean energy, reduce deforestation, cut down carbon pollution and support adaptation initiatives in developing countries, Australia remains eerily quiet in these discussions.
The Abbott Government’s determination for Australia to be left behind on climate change action must end – it’s taking us backwards.
As country after country commits to take action, Australia is growing increasingly isolated in its inaction.
Whilst nearly every developed country is taking action to deal with climate change, Tony Abbott is reversing Australia’s action.
This has included undermining the Renewable Energy Target and cutting billions of dollars from climate change action programs.
Some of the pledges made by the major economies include a nationwide emissions trading scheme in China and South Korea, while countries representing half the world’s population support a carbon pricing mechanism.
These important discussions are laying the groundwork for an ambitious global agreement at the next meeting in Paris in 2015 where countries will set their emissions reduction targets beyond 2020.
Labor hopes the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reports back to Prime Minister Tony Abbott that his sceptic views are not shared by any of the 120 world leaders at the Summit.
This stand-off between Tony Abbott and the rest of the world has gone on too long to the detriment of Australia.
He must join the scientific consensus that climate change is real and the global consensus that serious action is needed now.
He can start by placing climate change action on the agenda at upcoming G20 Leaders’ meeting in Brisbane and avoid being embarrassed by the world’s largest economies.
International commitments so far by G20 members:
- India: will double amount of energy from wind and solar by 2020
- China: to cut carbon intensity by 40-45% by 2020 on 2005 levels
- United Kingdom: is on track to cut emissions by 80% by 2050
- France: moving away from fossil fuel reliance
- Indonesia: to cut emissions by 26 per cent by 2020 and says that will rise to 40 per cent with international help
- South Korea: next year will become the first Asian nation with a national emissions trading scheme
- Mexico: By 2018, more than one-third of electricity-generating capacity will be based on renewables.
- Turkey: raising by 30% renewable energy share in total production and lowering energy density by 20%
- European Union: cut emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050
Other initiatives at the UN Global Summit include:
- $US200 billion fund to finance low-carbon and climate resilient pathways
- Initiatives to support renewable energy development in Africa and small nations as their demand for electricity grows
WEDNESDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2014
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