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Time’s up: why Australia has to quit stalling and wean itself off fossil fuels

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, John Quiggin, writes in The Conversation (6.4.22) about the need for immediate action on limiting human contributions to climate change. The author argues that, with a federal election looming, both major parties must commit seriously to reducing emissions and moving away from fossil fuels.

‘If the world acts now, we can avoid the worst outcomes of climate change without any significant effect on standards of living. That’s a key message from the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

‘The key phrase here is “acts now”. Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC working group behind the report, said it’s “now or never” to keep global warming to 1.5℃. Action means cutting emissions from fossil fuel use rapidly and hard. Global emissions must peak within three years to have any chance of keeping warming below 1.5℃.

‘Unfortunately, Australia is not behaving as if the largest issue facing us is urgent – in fact, we’re doubling down on fossil fuels.

‘In recent years, Australia overtook Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). We’re still the second-largest exporter of thermal coal, and the largest for metallurgical coal.

‘Time’s up, Australia. We have to talk about weaning ourselves off fossil fuels and exporting our wealth of clean alternatives.’

Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics

Fergus Green writes in The Conversation (20.6.22) that Australia promptly needs an ‘honest reckoning’ with the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long hold over Australian politics.

‘In the wake of the Green and Teal wave that crashed through the federal parliament, attention has inevitably turned to what the new crossbenchers will say and do about climate policy.

‘So far, attention has focused on Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target, and whether the Teals will pressure the new Labor government to increase its relatively unambitious) target, to which it has now formally committed.

‘There’s a much more important question to ask. That is, how will any new target actually be reached?

‘The history of Australian climate policy – under both Labor and Coalition governments – shows very clearly that our large and powerful fossil fuel industry and its political clients are adept at devising “innovative” ways to ensure targets are achieved without obstructing the Lemming-like march toward ever more coal and gas production.’

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