More than 90 key groups from across the Australian economy and society have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take more steps to avoid catastrophic climate change, calling on him to match other countries' commitments to halve carbon emissions this decade.
Signatories include representatives from the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Service, HESTA, the City of Sydney, the City of Adelaide, Oxfam, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation-Australia.
The call to hit new emissions targets comes after this week’s Better Futures Forum, where Australia’s target of achieving net zero by 2050 has been deemed inadequate by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US deputy climate chief Jonathan Pershing, and Labor shadow climate minister Chris Bowen.
Both Ki-Moon and Pershing say a minimum 50 per cent cut by 2030 is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“The shift from fossil fuels is inevitable, and the momentum unstoppable. Without further ambition on its part, Australia will face increasing isolation and diminishing markets for its resources,” the letter states.
“Carbon border adjustments will harm Australia’s economy, as other nations race ahead, realising the opportunities for investment in the zero-carbon age.”
“To meet the obligations in the Paris Agreement - and protect the wellbeing of the Australian people, our magnificent ecosystems, and our economic security - Australia must establish a clear pathway to transition our economy to a zero emissions future.”
Under the Paris Agreement, the European Union will cut 55 per cent of emissions by 2030.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has set one of the strongest legally-binding targets in the world, aiming for a 78 per cent reduction by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
The current Australian target aims to reduce emissions by 28 per cent in comparison to 2005 levels, with the government looking to provide long term certainty to businesses.
In the letter, the signatories state their willingness to work with the Morrison government to "transition from fossil fuels in a fair orderly way that leaves no one behind" and help "build a thriving community".
It marks the first time peak groups of this diversity and influence from every sector have banded together, representing more than seven million Australians.
“The course of history, and the legacy we leave our children, is in your hands, Prime Minister. We are moving ahead, and we need your support. The time to act is now.”
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