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Breakthrough Paris climate agreement sets solid foundation but much still to be done

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 13 Dec 2015

• Reference to a 1.5 degree limit will require countries to ratchet up targets
• Australia will now need to rapidly transition from coal to renewables
• Agreement to $100 billion in finance for developing countries to develop via low carbon economies

The Australian Greens welcomed the announcement by world leaders that a framework agreement to tackle global warming has been reached in Paris, but urged the work has just begun towards averting the catastrophic impacts of global warming and transforming the global economy.

“For nearly every nation on earth to come together to reach an agreement that urges countries to stabilise global temperatures to 1.5 degree is a significant achievement,” said Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale from Paris.

“It’s a solid foundation but the work to tackle global warming really starts now. This agreement will only be a success if countries including Australia seriously ratchet up their targets between now and when the new agreement takes effect from 2020.

“To achieve the 1.5 degree limit, Australia must now revise our emissions targets and transition away from coal.

“The Turnbull government must take the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) off the chopping block. It needs to end subsidies to the fossil fuel sector and stop approving new coal mines, like Adani’s Carmichael mine, the largest in the southern hemisphere.

“This century now belongs to those nations that seize the momentum from Paris and transition to a low carbon economy, along with the high tech manufacturing, high skills, jobs rich opportunities that brings. Other countries realise the faster they act, the better for their domestic economies, as well as for our health and environment.”

Deputy Leader and Climate Change Spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said, “Australia simply won’t be able to keep up with other advanced economies if we hitch our future to coal. Australia will be left behind if we don’t join with other forward thinking nations in switching rapidly form a dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

“Failing to make this transition will be catastrophic for jobs and our future economic prosperity.

“What we witnessed in Paris was the business community, local governments and civil society forging ahead despite the actions of national governments. They recognise the huge opportunities in job creation and investment that lie ahead in low carbon energy, high tech manufacturing and other sectors.

“There is also agreement to five yearly reporting with a stocktake on countries’ performance in 2018, but it’s concerning that formal reporting may not commence until 2025.

“The Paris agreement urges developed countries to contribute to $100 billion in climate finance from 2020 to help developing countries adapt to global warming and modernise their economies without ramping up carbon emissions.”

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