To: The Australian government, federal and state political parties

Commit Australia to net-zero emissions by 2035

Commit Australia to net-zero emissions by 2035

A recent report by the Climate Targets Panel details that Australia needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2035, to stay within an allocation for a carbon budget for limiting global heating to 1.5 ° C.

It is in Australia's interest that the world moves as swiftly as possible to address climate change effectively, as our communities and environment are vulnerable to its impacts — whether it is through the risk of losing loved ones, homes or property in heightened risk of bushfires, floods and other extreme weather events; rising living costs and insurance prices; and increased risks to public health, such as through physical injuries, disease, respiratory problems, and psychological distress.

The Australian Federal, State and Territory governments and parties in Opposition must commit to a policy of net-zero emissions by 2035 — and to carry it out with the equity and urgency needed, guided by science every step of the way — to ensure that Australia is doing its part at home, as well as advocating for global urgency abroad, regardless of whichever political party is in power.

Why is this important?

All of the Australian states and territories currently have goals of net-zero emissions by 2050, with the ACT having a goal of net-zero by 2045. These might be appreciated in light of the Federal government having no goal beyond a 26-28% emissions reduction by 2030, but unfortunately, these goals aren't in line with the best united science anymore. They do not meet Australia's commitment to playing its role of keeping global heating to well under 2 °C.

We Australians have shown that we have the capacity to get through crises and keep the wellbeing of our fellow citizens at heart — Australia has, overall, been able to keep on top of the coronavirus pandemic, for example, with the premiers and chief ministers accompanied by teams that are thousands-strong, trying their best to follow the science, all the way, and with the Federal government's supporting policies, such as for income support. This effort, of course, has not been without deep consideration and sacrifice from many of us, and a lot of people in our community. And it has not been without inequity.

But look where we are now. We once again have a better opportunity to continue to pursue our personal goals and dreams, to continue doing our part to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our loved ones and fellow citizens.

The ongoing threat from climate change absolutely has the capacity to devastate lives again. We can't risk losing the chance to continue pursuing social justice, to pursue lifelong dreams. We can't risk taking away that opportunity of a decently habitable planet from future generations, the opportunity that we and previous generations have had.

Let's be clear; the climate crisis is not the result of one generation living an unsustainable lifestyle. It is the result of hundreds of years of unsustainable living patterns, particularly in industrialised ways of life, which have been largely dependent on the use of fossil fuels. But we, today, can do something about it. And that is the most important part. Let's use this chance now before it starts to slip beyond our capacity to change it anymore. Join us in pushing for Australia to take this on with the seriousness, urgency and compassion required — starting with raising awareness about, and updating inadequate emissions targets.