27 February 2014
With the Climate Change Authority today recommending Australia significantly raises its ambition on climate change action, the Conservation Council SA is calling on all parties to make the issue a much higher priority in the 2014 South Australian election.
Chief Executive Craig Wilkins said, "The Climate Change Authority has recommended that Australia lift its 2020 emissions reduction target from 5% to 19%, and highlighted the electricity sector as being the first place to start cutting emissions."
"This follows last week’s release of the Climate Council’s report showing what is already evident in SA: heatwaves are becoming more frequent, more intense, and are starting earlier than they used to.
"Meanwhile, the Federal Government is about to review our national Renewable Energy Target (RET), and has chosen to focus on its impact on electricity prices rather than emissions reductions. There are strong concerns in the renewable energy industry that this could lead to a weakening of the target; despite this being one of the most effective ways Australia can cut its emissions.
"This would be another nail in the coffin for Australia having a credible national response to reducing emissions. It puts far greater pressure on state governments to take up the mantle.
"It’s very timely then that South Australia’s own Premier’s Climate Change Council has just recently released its advice to the government, urging it to show leadership by reducing its own emissions and also adopting a 2025 target for the state’s renewable energy generation and emissions reduction.
"Currently, South Australia’s only greenhouse reduction target is 60% by 2050, which is now far behind Australia’s national 80% target. Given Labor’s election commitment to continue being a leader on climate change, this clearly needs to increase.
"Adopting a stronger renewable energy target for SA could also protect our burgeoning renewables industry in this state in the event that the RET does get weakened. It could give the industry the lifeline it needs.
"But it’s not just up to the government to make climate change a priority. Any party that expects to be taken seriously in the state election needs to have policies on how South Australia will reduce its emissions and adapt to the climate change that is in the pipeline," he said.
While the Greens have made strong commitments, the SA Liberals have yet to release any climate change policy for this election.
"After the summer we’ve just had, South Australians deserve better," Mr Wilkins said.