Media Releases - 01 April 2019

ALP climate policy: More is needed

The Wilderness Society welcomes Labor’s climate package as a substantial step forward in Australian climate policy after a period of coalition destructiveness, but signals that more is needed for it to be a thoroughly credible and proportional effort to addressing what is the biggest threat facing us all.

Lyndon Schneiders, Wilderness Society National Campaign Director, says: “For too long the Federal coalition turned a blind eye to the destruction of our landscapes through deforestation—a process that releases millions of tonnes of carbon pollution into our atmosphere, pollutes our waterways and causes the extinction of our precious wildlife.

“It is good to see Labor committing to 'stop broad-scale land clearing' and implementing a national deforestation monitoring system as part of their climate policy. Action on deforestation, or land clearing, is sorely needed. The test will be whether strong national laws to stop deforestation and land clearing are implemented quickly and avoid the loopholes that plague state land clearing legislation.

“Any credible climate policy needs to deal with emissions from the land sector and any credible land sector climate policy will end the destruction of old growth and high conservation value forests and bushland. It will also provide support to the good guys: the landholders and Traditional Owners who wish to restore these forests and bushland.

“We need a clear plan to get our country to zero net emissions by 2050. The land sector has a huge role to play, including through ending deforestation and starting to reforest at scale.

“Alongside stopping deforestation, the biggest role Australia can play in reducing global emissions is to leave our fossil fuel reserves in the ground. At some point, a government is going to have to say no, enough is enough. We can’t keep digging up and burning fossil fuels.

“By not having a framework of deciding on new fossil fuel projects, it’s hard to see how the mechanisms proposed here will meet our targets. You don’t manage any other area of the economy with just demand-side policies; you have to look at the supply-side too. And that means being able to say no to new fossil fuel projects.

“Whether it’s drilling in the Bight or gas exploration off the coast of Sydney and Newcastle, opening up the Carmichael Basin for coal or coal seam gas under the Pilliga, the community are looking for leadership and that leadership means a government willing to say ‘no’.

“What Labor has put forward is vastly better than what we have seen from the government over the last five and half years, but it’s still not enough to get done what we need to get done. Furthermore, what they have put forward is an emissions reduction policy, it is not a complete climate policy.

“Australia needs to vastly ratchet up its efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change, here and now. It’s affecting our communities and causing untold damage to our natural heritage. There must be a comprehensive climate platform that goes beyond emissions so that all the roles of government are focused on addressing the challenges of a changed climate,” he concluded.


For further information, please contact Tim Beshara on 0437878786.