The path towards a different climate future is ours. The government just has to make the choice to take it.
By Adam Bandt
This week we concluded a pre-Parliament meeting of the new Australian Greens Party Room. I’m thrilled to be coming back to Canberra with such an invigorated and expanded team voted in by you.
One of the first items on our agenda was the government’s Climate Change Bill.
On behalf of our Party Room I wanted to let you know that they have empowered me, as Greens leader, to enter formal negotiations with the government on the Bill.
There’s a number of issues we’ll raise with the government, including:
- The fact their target won’t keep us below 1.5 degrees of warming;
- The Bill doesn’t seem to allow for the target to be increased in the future without coming back to Parliament. The bill must operate as a floor, not a ceiling, with 43% as a minimum target that can be increased easily in the future;
- The lack of enforcement mechanisms in the bill that would compel the government to actually cut pollution;
- Labor’s backing of new coal and gas projects already in the pipeline, which would lift pollution and blow even the weak 43% target.
We’ll enter into good faith negotiations with the government on all of these concerns.
This is a climate parliament and there are no limits on what we can achieve together. Our preference is to improve and pass this bill. But the government must come to the table and drop their ‘take it or leave it’ approach. The only obstacle to greater climate ambition is Labor.
As Europe is burning and our own environment is collapsing, Labor wants to open new coal and gas mines. You can’t put the fire out if you’re pouring petrol on it.
If we continue to mine and burn coal, oil and gas, we’ll experience further economic losses, food, insurance and health costs will go up, and we’ll pay much higher energy bills. Over a million jobs in industries including tourism and farming are at risk.
This week’s State of the Environment report and last week’s calls from Pacific Island leaders give the government all the justification it needs to do more. The path towards a different climate future is ours: the government just has to make the choice to take it.
I look forward to keeping you updated as our negotiations progress.
Yours in the fight for a safer climate,
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