Media Releases - 03 December 2021

A target and plan is a step forward but nature and communities need more ambitious climate action

  • Like business, the Australian community is also looking for certainty on climate action from governments

  • Review of ACCUs welcome, but extreme caution sounded about unqualified bioenergy

  • Addressing and reversing deforestation is essential alongside greater investment in renewables

Responding to Federal Labor’s climate policies announced today, Wilderness Society National Campaigns Director Amelia Young says:

“Unlike the Coalition, Federal Labor at least has an emissions reduction target, and a plan to get there. But to achieve the cuts in pollution necessary to secure a safe climate for nature and for people, policies announced today need to be strengthened, and actually applied.

“Today Albanese and Bowen said that ‘business wants certainty.’ The Australian community also wants certainty.

“Australians are looking for confidence that if elected, a Labor Government will in fact take the necessary steps on climate action, which means making the necessary cuts in climate pollution in the next decade, rather than waiting until after 2030.

“Only the combination of addressing and reversing nature loss, while rapidly reducing carbon pollution to achieve net-zero, will hold global warming at or below 1.5°C. If humanity doesn’t hold warming to these levels, all the best-laid plans to protect threatened species and ecosystems will fail in the face of runaway global warming.

“Nature—and communities—need climate pollution policies and plans to deliver pollution reductions, and urgently.

“Two years on from the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires, communities and nature are still recovering. Greater investment in renewables, as announced today, helps avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but action to prevent deforestation, and to protect and restore forests and bushland, and action to prevent further expansion of fossil fuels, is equally necessary.

“We strongly caution against looking to unqualified bioenergy or biomass as a climate solution. Bioenergy sourced from native forests and bushland is not a ‘new clean energy industry’ and Labor should rule out burning native forests for power as a matter of urgency. Likewise, innovative packaging solutions to reduce waste must, when made from wood fibre, be predominantly recycled, or sourced from plantations or suitably-certified forests.

“The Wilderness Society welcomes Labor’s commitment to a review into the integrity of ACCUs, which must deliver credible climate, biodiversity and economic benefits to society and the environment.

“When Australia’s next Federal government goes to COP27 next year, it must take climate commitments and demonstrated actions that Australians are not ashamed of or embarrassed by. Like the Coalition, Labor can expect its climate policies to be scrutinised by international allies—and a 43% reduction by 2030 won’t meet the Paris Agreement requirement of limiting warming to 1.5°C, and won’t keep us on track for net zero by 2050.

“Australia’s astonishing track record on deforestation, and failure to invest sufficiently in land restoration, must both be reversed. There are opportunities in the land sector to protect biodiversity, and safeguard and grow carbon stores that need to be ratcheted up. These should be supported by a commitment to provide more robust data, such as through the creation of a national land clearing dataset.”

The Wilderness Society would like to see all parties seeking to form Federal government:

  • rule out further expansion of the fossil fuel industry, both onshore and offshore;

  • prioritise the community’s rights to a safe and liveable climate; and

  • ensure Australia’s forests and bushlands are protected, and are used to absorb and store carbon.

For further comment contact Amelia Young on 0404 074 577.