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Labor’s climate policy is too little, too late. We must run faster to win the race

Will Steffen writes in The Conversation (24.2.20) that ‘simple maths’ reveals Labor’s newly announced policy on emissions reduction, if replicated by all other nations, would not do enough to avert dangerous global warming.

‘Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s announcement on Friday that a Labor government would adopt a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 was a big step in the right direction. But a bit of simple maths reveals the policy is too little, too late.

‘Perhaps the most robust way to assess whether a proposed climate action is strong enough to meet a temperature target is to apply the “carbon budget” approach. A carbon budget is the cumulative amount of carbon dioxide the world can emit to stay within a desired temperature target.

‘Once the budget is spent (in other words, the carbon dioxide is emitted), the world must have achieved net-zero emissions if the temperature target is to be met.

‘So let’s take a look at how Labor’s target stacks up against the remaining carbon budget.

‘… The net-zero-by-2050 policy is a step in the right direction but is not nearly enough. Our emission reduction actions must be ramped up even more – and fast – to give our children and grandchildren a fighting chance of a habitable planet.’

Australia, the climate can’t wait for the next federal election. It’s time to take control

Tim Flannery writes in The Conversation (3.11.20) about the pressing need for action on climate change, noting how state governments, councils, researchers and entrepreneurs are slowing our slide to disaster – but they need others to step up.

‘It is difficult to know what to do when governments fail us. But there’s no need to wait until the next election to deal with the climate crisis, we can act now.

‘An overwhelming majority of Australians want action on climate change. And the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows governments can act decisively and effectively on imminent threats. But on climate action, there is a lack of political will.

‘So in the absence of federal leadership, what should be done? And who must do what?

‘Those questions are already being answered by state governments, councils, researchers, entrepreneurs and financiers who understand the climate problem. Their actions are slowing our slide to disaster – but they need others to step up.’

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