WWF-Australia has welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to a target of net zero climate pollution and called for urgent new policy action to slash emissions in this decade.
“The commitment by the government to reach net zero as our end goal is an important step, but new policy is needed to get us there,” said Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia.
“The federal government must take urgent action this decade if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We already have the majority of technologies we need in wind, solar, batteries and electric vehicles that are lowering emissions right now, but we should be doing so much more at a national level to rapidly deploy them.
“If we act fast on climate and become a renewable export and clean manufacturing superpower, we can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for all Australians, particularly those in regional communities.
“Australia is uniquely placed to thrive in the global net-zero economy, but we need investments and policies this decade to match the scale of our ambition and potential. The global race for renewables is on and we are being outpaced and outspent by other countries.
“The good news is WWF-Australia has released a report
with ACF, ACTU and BCA that shows we can do just that. By acting now and investing in clean energy exports, Australia could create 395,000 new jobs and generate $89 billion in new trade by 2040.
“With our endless sunshine, abundant space, powerful winds, highly skilled workforce, and rich deposits of minerals needed for batteries and other clean energy technologies, we can produce so much renewable energy that we can power the whole nation, with massive opportunities to export renewables to our neighbours and the world.”
Mr O’Gorman said WWF was very disappointed to see the government continuing to prop up fossil fuel exports and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in today’s announcement.
“CCS has been used as a delaying tactic for more than a decade, with billions of dollars sunk into a technology that to-date has failed. Australia needs to be doubling down on renewable energy,” he said.
“Acting on climate will not only create jobs and ensure Australia prospers, it will also protect our unique wildlife and wild places. Failure to act this decade will leave the places we love exposed to more frequent droughts, megafires and storms.”
Mr O’Gorman said the government should also be investing in nature-based solutions.
“Investing in nature can help us be more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Healthy mangroves and coastal ecosystems are highly effective carbon sinks and also offer protection from storm surges, wetlands filter and absorb water that help with drought resistance and tree-lined hillsides protect communities from the effects of erosion,” he said.
“We would like to see increased inclusion of nature-based solutions for climate in the national plan, starting with support for a more resilient, nature-positive food production system and a transition from native forest logging to plantations.
“With the right actions we can literally shift Australia from being a deforestation nation to a leading reforestation nation, which would benefit our wildlife, climate and people.”