The Morrison government is out of step with Australia’s trading partners on climate action with insufficient emissions reduction targets.
That’s the assessment of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who wants the federal government to at least halve its emissions this decade and commit to net-zero emissions by 2050.
Mr Ban has labelled Australia’s current target of reducing emissions between 26 and 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 as insufficient.
“Australia’s current goal … and the absence of a national zero emissions target, is out of step with its states, its trading partners, and other comparable nations,” he told the Better Futures Forum on Tuesday.
Without more action, Australia risked finding itself on the wrong side of carbon tarrifs imposed by trading partners.
“Ethically, the toll of inaction on climate is incalculable,” Mr Ban said.
“Economically, failing to set ambitious, credible emissions targets in line with the rest of the world poses a huge threat to Australia’s future prosperity and international standing.”
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean warned the federal government should get with the program or get out of the way.
“Complaining it is too hard is not a solution. Saying it is up to others to come up with a plan is a cop-out,” the Liberal MP told the forum.
“The community expects our leaders to get on with it or get out of the way.”
The federal Coalition is under renewed pressure to act after the UN’s latest climate report card showed a world on track to warm by 1.5 degrees by early next decade.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to tout a “technology not taxes” approach while flagging Australia will update its emissions outlook at the UN’s climate conference in Glasgow scheduled to start on October 31.
Current projections show Australia is on track for 29 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.
Meanwhile, Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has demanded to see a plan spelling out the costs of taking action on climate change.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier this month showed Australia’s land areas had warmed 1.4 degrees since 1910.
Warming would only worsen fires, floods, droughts, coral bleaching, extreme temperatures, marine heatwaves, coral bleaching and accelerating sea level rise.
The planet could be up to 5.7 degrees hotter by the end of the century under a worse-case scenario modelled by the IPCC.