MEDIA RELEASE: 23 April 2021
Communities look to Vic govt for climate leadership as Morrison fails to hit reset button at Biden Climate Summit
Friends of the Earth say that communities are looking to the Victorian government to show greater leadership on climate after Prime Minister Scott Morrison failed to hit the reset button at President Joe Biden's World Leaders Climate Summit.
The high-powered summit—which saw the United States announce an increased target to reduce emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030—was seen as an opportunity for the Morrison government to make a course correction on climate and energy policy.
"Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a chance to leave behind the Coalition's ideological opposition to tackling the climate crisis, but he failed to show leadership when it mattered," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.
"The increased ambition we're seeing from the United States and other counties shows that momentum is building to take the climate crisis seriously."
"While a heavier lift is needed to align current Emissions Reduction Targets with climate science, these announcements are a welcome step forward and give communities hope."
The United States was not alone in increasing ambition ahead of the critically-important UN climate negotiations in Glagsow this November. The United Kingdom announced a 78 percent emissions reduction by 2030 in addition to a previous pledge to cut emissions by 68 percent by 2030. Japan and Canada also increased their ambition.
Friends of the Earth say the Morrison government's inaction threatens Australia's economy and puts jobs at risk:
"The Morrison government's refusal to commit Australia to any emissions reduction targets leaves the country exposed to carbon-border tariffs and will cost jobs," says Leigh Ewbank.
Friends of the Earth says communities are now looking to the Andrews Labor government to show leadership on climate change and jobs.
The state government will soon announce its long-awaited Emissions Reduction Target for 2030 which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Andrews Labor government ambitious renewable energy rollout and investment in Public Transport is cutting emissions while creating jobs," said Leigh Ewbank
"Labor can build on the momentum by setting science-based targets that are bold and ambitious."
University of Melbourne modelling, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, found an emissions reduction of 75 percent by 2030 was achievable and would create at least 50,000 jobs for Victorians.
Friends of the Earth have coordinated a community campaign for science-based climate targets since 2017. The group believes the Andrews government will soon make an announcement and will be ready to respond.
RESPONSES FROM FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL AND UNITED STATES:
Dipti Bhatnagar, International Program Coordinator for Climate Justice and Energy with Friends of the Earth International, from Mozambique, said:
The U.S. climate target unveiled today is magnitudes below the United States’ fair share of climate action, both in terms of actual greenhouse gas reductions and providing finance and other assistance for communities in the Global South as they reel from a climate crisis they did not create. Droughts are destroying crops, cyclones are leveling homes, and whole nations are literally disappearing. This climate goal is neither driven by justice and equity nor by science, and that is not acceptable. The United States must accept and address its high level of responsibility for the climate crisis and encouragement of high-carbon lifestyles the world over, for which planet and peoples are severely paying the price.
Karen Orenstein, Climate and Energy Program Director at Friends of the Earth U.S., said:
President Biden’s commitment may seem ambitious for Washington, but it is sharply inadequate and deeply unjust for the billions living in the Global South. It stands in stark contrast to his expressed commitment to center environmental justice in his approach to government. Biden must go back to the drawing board and present a Nationally Determined Contribution in which the U.S. does its fair share to keep the world on a path to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.