Labor needs to stop the half measures and politicking and get serious on climate

SYDNEY, Nov 22, 2018 - The Labor Party’s energy policies do not match the urgency of the climate crisis and must be dramatically ramped up to protect the environment and Australians already suffering the effects of fossil fuels and climate change.

This afternoon Opposition Leader Bill Shorten confirmed that a Labor government would reduce emissions from the electricity sector by 45 percent by 2030, while overseeing a transition to 50 percent renewable energy over the same period.

“Bill Shorten himself said we are facing a climate disaster, but once again his policies fall well short of his rhetoric,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said.

“The scale of the threat and the measures necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change were made clear by the UN in their special report on capping global warming at 1.5 degrees. The report calls for the virtual elimination of coal for electricity generation by 2030 and this plan goes nowhere near doing that”

“The time for half measures is over. If Labor are truly serious about tackling climate change and steering Australia into the future, now is the time to prove it.”

Shorten told Bloomberg that he would be “guided by the experts” but appears to have ignored the sombre warnings of the 1.5 report and instead opted to play politics by basing his policy on the National Energy Guarantee, which led to the government deposing Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.  

“By basing his policy on the NEG Bill Shorten has shown that he prefers playing political games to addressing the climate crisis,” Ms Foster Vander Elst said.

“Instead of advocating policies to wedge the government, Shorten should be pushing a policy agenda that can deliver clean air, prevent more droughts and bushfires and give the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance of survival.”

While it was disappointing to hear Mr Shorten say that coal will remain a part of the energy mix for years to come, Greenpeace supports plans to set up a Just Transition Authority.

The agency will be tasked with helping coal workers and their communities manage the impact of mine and plant closures.

“Of course we need a Just Transition Authority. It’s a moot point. Coal is entering its twilight and we need to look after coal communities. The switch away from fossil fuels is already well underway and this measure recognises that new reality,” Ms Foster Vander Elst continued.

“A Just Transition Authority will ensure that workers’ rights and the environment are protected as more and more communities across Australia make the switch to clean renewable energy.”

 

For interviews:

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]