Australia burns as new government moves to wind back climate action

Margaret Blakers, Green Institute

It’s not even summer and huge bushfires have broken out along Australia’s east coast, especially in the blue mountains near Sydney where hundreds of houses have burnt down. The Greens are pointing out that climate change means we can expect larger, more frequent and more terrifying wildfires. The new conservative government doesn’t want to talk about the connection; instead it’s winding back climate action.

On November 12 they will introduce legislation to repeal Australia’s globally acclaimed package of climate and clean energy policies introduced by the previous Greens-supported government. Their proposed replacement is a so-called ‘direct action’ scheme that pays polluters to reduce emissions and is unlikely to meet even the minimal 2020 target Australia has committed to. Whether the government succeeds in repealing the climate laws will depend on a drawn-out political battle in the Senate where the Greens and other parties have a majority. Continue reading

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Climate Code Red

It’s hard to imagine that one tweet from Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt could change the terms of the climate change policy debate in Australia. But it has.

On 17 October, as fierce, out-of-season bush fires erupted around Sydney and destroyed 200 houses after the hottest year on record in Australia, Bandt tweeted that Australia would experience more terrible climate impacts if newly-elected conservative prime minister Tony Abbott got his way and abandoned the carbon pricing and renewable energy legislation enacted by the Labor government in 2010. Continue reading