Additional Comments - Australian Greens

The Australian Greens reiterate the evidence and recommendations provided in our additional comments to the interim report. As we outlined more than a year ago:
The committee has received very clear evidence from a range of witnesses, on the impact of the climate emergency on bushfire risk … Global warming has also made it harder to undertake hazard reduction burning … The science is clear: the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas increase the climate crisis and are making bushfires worse. The climate crisis is making our bushfire season longer and more extreme. Climate induced droughts and heatwaves increase the likelihood and severity of fires.
The 2019–20 bushfires may have ended, but as Australia approaches another summer impacted by the climate crisis, the urgency of the issue has only increased. The only reasonable response for the Parliament to the inaction of the Liberal Party is to commit to meaningful, immediate action on emissions reductions, and declare a climate emergency.
To meet its contributions to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming as close to 1.5 degrees as possible, Australia must reduce emissions by 75 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, and to net zero by 2035.1
Since the interim report, Australia has worked to undermine climate action on the world stage. As Australian Greens Leader Mr Adam Bandt MP stated in October 2021:
With our coal and gas exports, Australia is the world's third-biggest exporter of fossil-fuel pollution after Russia and Saudi Arabia, who are coincidentally our only allies in the upcoming climate negotiations in Glasgow.
Four-fifths of the coal we extract, we export overseas. This is Australia's biggest contribution to the climate emergency that our carbon accounts exclude and our establishment political parties ignore.
But, without a plan for coal, there is no plan to stop runaway global heating.
Almost all of our exports go to Japan, China, and South Korea. All three have pledged net zero, which means the first thing they will target is pushing thermal coal out of their electricity system.
Either we plan the transformation out of coal—on our own terms—or we let other countries make the decision for us, without warning.
Every extra molecule of coal, oil and gas that gets burned makes global warming worse and harms Australia.
And every year we are seeing and feeling the impacts of the climate crisis more and more—the unprecedented bushfires in 2019, the floods along the east coast, droughts across parts of Western Australia and New South Wales, more extreme rainfall over the winter months impacting millions of Australians.
Government agency ABARES has even concluded climate damage is already costing each Australian farmer $30,000 in lost income—all this with just 1.1 degrees of warming. We are on track for three to four degrees of warming unless we change course.
If we don't have a plan to phase out coal then these extreme weather events, and their financial impacts, will get exponentially worse.
We didn't have sympathy for tobacco and asbestos companies when their health risks were exposed, and the same should be for coal corporations who are profiting off destruction.
In good news, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the European Union and 16 other major economies have answered the call to fight the climate crisis by committing to higher 2030 emissions reduction targets and developing plans to get out of coal.
Last week the German coalition government talks, with the Greens in balance of power are working on bringing forward their plans to get out of coal by eight years, with a plan to exit from coal-fired power stations by 2030.
But the Prime Minister is refusing to join the global community, leaving Australia with the least ambitious emissions target of any developed country in the world and no plans to get out of coal, and Labor is backing him with no 2030 targets and a plan to keep exporting coal into the 2050s.
Whether it be the consequences in climate impacts in Australia, consequences for our diplomatic standing or consequences for our economy from the potential introduction of tariffs on our exports, a failure to get out of coal and gas will come at great cost to Australia and puts the health, wellbeing and economic prosperity of people on this land at risk.
The International Energy Agency has mapped the pathway to not exceed 1½ degrees. It means not one new coal, oil or gas project can proceed. But Australia has 72 new coal projects and 44 new gas projects in the pipeline—the biggest and baddest of which is the Beetaloo basin, financed by public money committed by both the government and the opposition.
It's unsustainable, it's embarrassing, and most of all it's dangerous and will cost our kids their future.
The media has exposed that our own government has been trying to rewrite the facts in the next IPCC report on the need to phase out coal. The Prime Minister doesn't like the science, so he's trying to censor it.2
The Australian Greens support the recommendations of the main committee report. Additionally, the Australian Government must take urgent action to ensure we transition from the mining and export of thermal coal after 2030.


That the Australian Government urgently transition away from coal and gas.


That the Australian Parliament enact the Coal Prohibition (Quit Coal) Bill 2021.
Senator Janet Rice
Greens Senator for Victoria

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