Federal Labor’s new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 is a significant improvement on the Coalition’s policy, but we need greater ambition to ensure the survival of our Great Barrier Reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on its health.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said Labor’s Powering Australia policy is a step forward and will begin to bridge the gap to the more ambitious 2030 target that voters, Australian businesses, states and territories and global trading patterns are already on board with.
AMCS’s reef campaigner Cherry Muddle said: “The future of our Reef depends on setting and meeting more ambitious targets going forward – this must be the start of a race to the top for our political leaders.
“We welcome the heft behind Labor’s policy, the target of 82% renewables by 2030 and the focus on renewables bringing job opportunities to regional Australia”, she said.
“But we also need to see a climate policy pathway from all political leaders that is compatible with no more than 1.5C of warming – a key threshold for our Reef.
“The best science indicates that Australia needs a target to reduce pollution by 75% by 2030 and policies to meet net zero by 2035 as part of a global push to reduce emissions.
“Communities across Australia will benefit hugely from the transition to renewable energy from polluting coal and gas projects. This will help ensure the special places in Australia like the Reef can benefit future generations while supporting jobs in tourism in Queensland.
“Following three mass bleaching events in just five years, and recent research which found that only 2% of the Reef remains untouched by bleaching, our global icon is crying out for swift and bold climate action this decade.
“Strong leadership means driving deeper pollution cuts from coal, oil and gas this decade to lessen the frequency of bleaching events driven by ocean heating.
“Every fraction of a degree of warming will be crucial for our Reef in the next 10 years. It will shape its future, so let’s just get on with doing what our Reef needs.”