A group of climate science experts has warned the government Australia needs more policies to cut greenhouse gas pollution in line with international obligations.
“Climate change is becoming an economic wrecking ball and it’s already having an impact,” the Climate Council’s Will Steffen said on Monday, calling for an emissions reduction target of 45-to-65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, instead of 26-to-28 per cent.
The joint statement was released after the government’s emissions data revealed last week showed a 0.9 per cent increase on levels in the September quarter compared to the previous year.
While emissions are declining in the electricity sector, this progress is outweighed by rises in transport and industrial energy, fuelled by a 19.7 per cent increase in LNG exports.
Climate Council spokesman and former head of BP Australasia Greg Bourne says the government’s recent policy announcements – including $2 billion for the Climate Solutions Fund – are unlikely to make a significant difference.
“Pollution has increased year on year under the government’s recently re-badged Emissions Reduction Fund,” he said.
“This is a failed policy because it does not effectively tackle pollution from fossil fuels, which contribute the lion’s share to the climate problem.”
The warning comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce $22 million in funding for community environmental projects, giving up to $150,000 to each federal electorate.
Projects will include restoring coastlines, wetlands and waterways, protecting native animals and cleaning up waste and litter, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday.