Labor’s new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, if it wins power at the next election, is much weaker than what we need to curb dangerous climate change.
Doctors for the Environment Australia’s Chair Dr John Van Der Kallen says while the target is better than that of the Morrison government, it shows federal politics is out of step with the science and what Australians expect to see at the upcoming federal election.
The Morrison government’s 2030 target to cut emissions by 26 to 28 per cent has not changed since it was set in 2015 by Tony Abbott. However it forecast a 35 per cent cut by 2030 at a speech to the recent Glasgow summit.
“Australia must act with urgency to significantly reduce emissions to save lives and protect health and wellbeing,” says Dr Van Der Kallen.
“Climate change has arrived and we’re experiencing the harms. Searing heatwaves, horrific bushfires and bushfire smoke, superstorms and floods are destroying lives.”
The RACP just this week launched a new report, endorsed by 10 colleges, that highlights how the unmitigated effects of climate change is harming Australians and will place immense pressure on Australia’s hospitals in the next 10 years.
In September, the AMA, DEA and many medical colleges signed an open letter to the government, calling for commitment to urgent and an ambitious national plan to protect health by cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions aligned to science-based targets.
Dr Van Der Kallen says that whichever party wins government at the next election, it’s essential that it commits to doing more this decade.
Policies should include:
- Phasing out coal and gas and the adoption of renewable energy
- Significantly increasing Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement at UN climate negotiations (COP26), in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
- Developing a national climate change and health strategy to facilitate planning for future climate health impacts
- Establishing a national Sustainable Healthcare Unit to support environmentally sustainable practice in healthcare and reduce the sector’s own significant emissions.
“Australia has an opportunity to protect health, renew its healthcare system, as well as its power generation, transport and food systems,” says Dr Van Der Kallen.
“We’re at a cross road and we need to take this opportunity to create a society which is healthier, more resilient and economically stronger than before.”
For interviews, contact DEA’s Media Manager Carmela Ferraro- 0410 703 074