Climate warming has been ignored in the election debate

Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

Contributed by Ben Wilson

Research by Climate Analytics found that the Morrison government has failed to live up to its commitment in the 2015 Paris agreement and re-affirmed at last year’s Glasgow climate pact. The aim is to limit global warming to 1.5C. But the Morrison government’s policy, if replicated by other nations, would lead to an increase of at least 3C, which if it was the yardstick for the world would be enough to destroy all tropical forests, a major carbon absorption and oxygen producing mechanism for the planet.

Climate Analytics said that the 26-28 percent target by 2030 is consistent with this. If this was the yardstick, global temperature could top 4C, which would ensure environment, economic, and social collapse.

As low as they are, the Morrison government’s carbon elimination targets have not been met so far, and there is little reason to believe that they will do so in the future. Creative accounting to paint a different picture doesn’t alter this.  

Although better, Labor’s policy is still short of the mark, according to Climate Analytics. Labour is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 on paper. But the avoiding controversy election strategy has meant saying little about climate during campaigning.

Climate has been sidelined in the election debate.

There is a stark contrast between this silence and what polls reveal to be overwhelming support in the Australian community for strong action. Australia is already experiencing the effects of global warming, through unprecedented bushfires, major flooding, and the increasing bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

This is a national emergency, far more than imagined threats from other nations, and it is being ignored.

The Morrison government has lowered the bar to cutting emissions by only 26-28 percent by 2030. In practice, there has been no real reduction, and little change to this is expected in the coming years.

Not surprisingly, the Greens are pushing the issue and putting forward a policy aimed at cutting carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030. They are not the only ones.

Many of the independents challenging the Coalition are pushing for a 60 percent reduction. Climate is a major reason for their challenge and will probably have a significant influence on the voting.

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