Green Thoughts

An Inconvenient Prime Minister

With all the gas being emitted from our politicians, it’s going to become harder to sort the real solutions from the spin. So GetUp has gone straight to the leading environmental policy experts in the country – from Greenpeace to the Climate Institute and the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change – for their blueprint for tackling the climate crisis. Here’s what they agree we need to do:

1) Legislate aggressively to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions. In California, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced targets of 80 per cent emissions reductions by 2050. Meanwhile Australia’s emissions have increased 10 per cent in the last decade, and are set to rise by an additional 17 per cent by 2020. Arnie even converted his Hummer to green fuel!

2) Establish economic incentives to reduce pollution and encourage energy efficiency and innovation. From abundant sun to wind and even geo-thermal power, Australia has enormous potential to reduce our dependence on polluting fossil fuels. But until we take into account the true cost of pollution and price carbon appropriately, clean energy just won’t make sense to industry’s bottom line.

3) Be part of the global solution by signing the Kyoto Protocol, the only international treaty that addresses climate change. Signing Kyoto immediately gives us access to an annual global carbon trading market forecast to be worth $2.6 trillion by 2012, and makes the transition to a carbon-constrained world far easier on Australia’s economy than going it alone.

4) Meet our energy needs from clean and renewable sources. We need clear, binding targets to drive renewable energy to at least 20 per cent of our total energy use by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030. The global clean energy market was worth $74 billion last year, while the proportion of electricity Australians receive from renewable energy is in decline.

5) Kick the coal addiction, and provide a just transition for miners and their communities. We cannot keep investing in polluting, limited sources of energy and hope technology provides the ‘silver bullet’ solution in another decade to come.

It may be inconvenient, but politicians from every level of government must deliver us a believable, clear and realistic plan to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and stop climate change. Join the movement – and the experts. Get on the Climate Action Map now to demand the real deal.


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