Rating ‘F’ for action on climate change

The Climate Council has rated the Coalition’s climate record performance an ‘F’ in its latest report Climate Cuts, Cover-Ups and Censorship. The timely report details the misleading claims, attacks on science and censorship undertaken by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government over the past five years. Actions that are likely to be repeated should the Coalition be re-elected on May 18.

The Climate Council’s report provides a detailed overview of the government’s approach to climate change since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition government in 2013, a period characterised by slashing climate science funding, cutting effective climate change programs, rejecting the expert advice of national and international bodies, misleading claims by senior ministers, a lack of credible climate policy, and ongoing cover ups over poor performance.

The report which could be the Climate Council’s most important to date is timely, being released just two weeks prior to the federal election.

“We want all Australians to know the truth; that the Federal Government has covered up poor performance with misleading claims, dubious accounting and censorship - and ultimately failed to act,” said an angry Tim Flannery.

“I believe future generations will read this report in utter disbelief.

“Delaying action has not made the problem go away. It has just shortened the time we have left to reduce emissions and made it more challenging to do so,” the Chief Climate Councillor declared.

The Climate Council is spreading the word that expert scientific advice has been ignored or rejected, putting Australian lives, the economy and environment at risk, and plans to keep the focus firmly on energy and transport; sectors that need to rapidly decarbonise.

“And we’ll continue to push for a strong climate change policy for Australia,” Tim Flannery said.

Australia’s abysmal performance has ignited the interest of Christina Figueres, formerly of the UN and co-architect of the Paris Agreement, who has condemned "the ridiculous climate wars in Australia that have led to a very damaging climate and energy policy vacuum for more than a decade".

"This inaction is putting us at war with a climate that has no more room for atmospheric pollution," Figueres said. "No other policy issue has been plagued by such partisan attacks, nor heralded the repeated fall of Australian prime ministers.

She added "Extreme elements from both sides of the political spectrum have frustrated sensible, forward-looking policies founded in what must be our most important guide — the science."

Figueres has pledged support for the four female independents standing for election, Zali Steggall in Warringah, Kerryn Phelps, MP for Wentworth, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie and the MP for Chisholm, Julia Banks.

She said the four have “set out strong policy platforms and longer-term vision for what it would take for Australia to take its rightful place as a leader in the global fight against climate change".

Unlike the Coalition.

The Climate Council rates the Federal Government’s climate performance over the past five-years an “F” for failing to act and for its attacks on science, instead slashing climate science funding, cutting effective climate change programs (cuts of $500 million to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and a slashing of the Renewable Energy Target), rejecting advice from expert domestic and international bodies, misleading claims from Federal Ministers, a lack of any effective climate programs, and consistently covering up poor performance.

The Federal Government has also covered up poor performance with misleading claims, dubious accounting and censorship.

The facts as presented by the Climate Council:

 

·       Greenhouse gas emissions have risen for four years running. Australia is unlikely to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target according to the government’s own department. Regardless, senior ministers continue to falsely claim that emissions are going down and targets will be met.

·       In 2016, the Federal Government censored a UN report about climate change and World Heritage sites, asking the authors to remove any reference to Australian sites.

·       The Federal Government has consistently delayed releasing information on Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, often publishing data just before Christmas when it faces less scrutiny.

·       The government has used discredited accounting methods, for instance including land-use emissions or Kyoto “carryover credits”, which makes its record look better than reality.

In other key findings, the government’s lack of climate change action is the defining leadership failure of the past decade.

“We have not tackled climate change, the consequences are with us, and we must work very quickly to prevent catastrophic consequences. Delaying action has not made the problem go away. It has just shortened the time we have left to reduce emissions and made it more challenging to do so. The Federal Government has squandered its tenure and that will cost us dearly,” the report noted.

Australia’s next government must adopt credible climate policy and a transparent and accurate approach to reporting and tracking Australia’s climate performance to ensure the public can appropriately evaluate its performance, says the Climate Council which has established a ‘Charter of Integrity’ for the Federal Government to use as a benchmark to track and monitor climate performance, specifically around issues of accountability, transparency, timeliness and accuracy.

For more information visit www.climatecouncil.org.au