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A crowd assembled for the people\

A crowd assembled for the people's climate march, Sydney 2015 © Michael Aw 2015

Paris climate talks: Australians deserve a safer and better future

27 Nov 2015

Keywords
  • carbon pollution
  • greenhouse gas emission
  • renewable energy
  • sustainable development goals
  • climate change

Australians taking part in the People’s Climate March this weekend will join millions of others around the world in calling for a strong global deal in Paris next week to ensure a safer and better future for people and the planet.   
 
Tens of thousands of Australians are expected to take to the streets to call for an end to polluting fossil fuels and a shift to clean renewable energy, as world leaders prepare to forge a united response to climate change that will set the course for global cooperation in the decades to come.
 
“It is critical in Paris that we get an agreement that is fair, ambitious and transformational, that reduces carbon pollution over the decades to come, and puts the world on the right track to a clean energy future,” said WWF-Australia Climate Change Manager Kellie Caught. 

“If world leaders are willing to listen to their people and strike the right agreements in Paris, then we stand a good chance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change and ensuring support for the most vulnerable people, including those already being affected.”

To help create momentum at Paris and for Australia to step up to do our fair share, WWF-Australia is asking the Australian Government to support a fair and equitable global agreement, in particular to:

  • Ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;
  • Increase Australia’s currently weak carbon pollution reduction targets to at least 25% by 2020 (2000 baseline) and 65% by 2030 (2005 baseline);
  • Increase financial commitments to poor and vulnerable countries in line with our fair share of delivering the agreed global goal of US $100 billion in climate finance by 2020;
  • Support 5 year review and ratchet cycles starting in 2017, so that countries can assess and strengthen their pollution reduction targets to ensure we are tracking in the right direction to limit global warming to 2/1.5 degrees. 

“The underwater heatwave currently threatening coral reefs in the Pacific and making its way to our Great Barrier Reef is a sign of what could be a regular occurrence if climate change is allowed to spiral out of control,” Ms Caught said.

“We should be doing all we can to protect our unique places and wildlife. We can’t expect the world to act to protect our reef if Australia isn’t doing its bit.”

Ms Caught said that while the Paris climate talks were critical, the real work needed to happen at home.
 
“Paris is a huge moment in the history of addressing global climate change but it is still just one step in an ongoing journey of global cooperation. The work doesn’t stop here, the real work happens back home, and we need to keep up the pressure to ensure our leaders do the right thing.
 
“Australians deserve a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future but the plan needs to start now
if we are to keep global warming to less than 1.5°C.”
 
WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Charlie Stevens, Senior Communications Officer
 
 
Expectations and implications for Australia: Paris COP
 
The Paris Climate Change negotiations aim to establish a global framework to limit carbon pollution to below 2 degrees, which for the first time will require domestic action from all countries.
 
Unfortunately the draft 2030 commitments put forward so far by countries put the planet on track to only limit warming to 2.7 degrees, which would have devastating impacts on ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef, our health, our food, our livelihood and our economy.
 
Therefore in Paris, all 195 Parties, including Australia, must act responsibly by supporting an agreement that speeds up the global transformation towards zero-carbon pollution and climate resilience while also supporting the millions of vulnerable people and ecosystems that are already bearing the unavoidable impacts of climate change. For this to be achieved, the Paris agreement must deliver a strong, fair and transformational outcome consisting of the following:
 

  • A sense that the direction we are moving towards is a fair and science-based trajectory – a long-term goal consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees that should include the phase-out of fossil fuels and phase-in of 100% renewable energy by 2050; and the establishment of an “Ambition Mechanism” to proactively work together to close the pre-2020 and post-2020 emissions gap.
  • An international climate architecture that ensures climate actions will become increasingly stronger – this includes five year commitment periods, 5 year reviews, and strong rules to enhance transparency and comparability.
  • Mechanisms to ensure the security and resilience of the vulnerable – Establish a global adaptation goal, provide adequate public finance for adaptation, and ensure Loss and Damage is a central provision in the agreement.
  • Provision of a solid resourcing foundation – Developed countries firstly must deliver on the pledge to provide USD$100 billion in climate finance by 2020 for poor and vulnerable countries.
 
What are we looking for from Australia in Paris?
  • If we are to create a more sustainable, cleaner, better future for our kids, Australia needs to go into the Paris agreements with a commitment to become a climate change leader and to do more.
  • As chair of the Umbrella Group (USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Ukraine), other countries expect Australia to play a bridge-building role in the UN climate negotiations.
  • Beyond the diplomatic role, Australia can have a constructive influence in key areas:
    • Ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – Australia is reportedly on track to meet its 2020 target, so there should be no reason why Australia shouldn’t ratify the second commitment period as a sign of good faith and to continue building trust.
    • Increase Australia’s currently weak carbon pollution reduction targets to at least 25% by 2020 (on a 2000 baseline) and 65% by 2030 (on a 2005 baseline). Australia’s current carbon pollution reduction targets put us at the back of the pack, where we will remain one the highest polluters per capita.
    • Increase financial commitments to poor and vulnerable countries in line with our fair share to deliver the agreed global goal of US $100 billion in climate finance by 2020. This means scaling-up our overall contribution of public finance to at least AU$1.6 billion per year by 2020, starting with at least AU$550 million in public finance in 2015/17.
    • Support 5 year commitment periods, plus 5 year reviews and ratchet cycles, starting the first review in 2017.
Further Reading
Read a detailed summary of WWF-International Expectations Paper for Paris - http://bit.ly/1X0JpMo
WWF COP21 infographic 1: What we need from Parishttp://bit.ly/1HW9dT6
WWF COP21 infographic 2: A Fair, Ambitious and Transformational Deal - http://bit.ly/1HaOpqN
WWF-Australia and ClimateWorks report examining what Australian needs to do between now and 2030 to achieve net zero emissions in 2050. 

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