Politics

Looks Like Labor Won’t Have Any Short-Term Climate Change Policies For The Next Election

Hope you enjoyed those bushfires, everybody

climate change

I hope you all enjoyed last year’s bushfire season, because it looks like our Opposition is going to the next election with no short-term climate change targets.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is reportedly facing internal pressure to drop targets for 2030 so they can focus on a policy of net-zero emissions by 2050 — and as The Australian first reported, a draft policy platform has already been backed by cabinet.

According to the world’s leading climate scientists, urgent changes are needed to keep global warming to under 1.5°C by 2030. After that — according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the damage from droughts, floods, extreme heat, coral bleaching and Arctic melting will be significantly worse.

So, that 2030 timeline is kind of a big deal. You’d think last year would have emphasised that.

But the draft policy does not mention targets for emissions reduction or renewable energy by 2030 or 2035. The plan they had before the last election would have committed them to a 45 percent drop by 2030 (based on 2005 levels) and a 50 percent renewable energy target.

However, climate change is still a key pillar of Labor’s draft — it plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and turn Australia into a “renewable energy superpower”.

“Labor believes Australia’s future prosperity lies as an energy superpower, built on our world-class renewable energy resources and technical skills,” it reads.

“We will develop and implement practical, collaborative policies informed by the best ­science and consistent with the goals of the Paris Accord to realise Australia’s huge renewable energy opportunities and ensure all ­Australians benefit not only through stronger economic growth but also access to more ­affordable energy.”

It also says Labor will look to work with industrial, mining and agricultural sectors to develop climate change policies to ensure that affected workers can still “prosper in a modern energy economy”.

Meanwhile, the government has announced it will be pushing for the construction of a new gas-fired power station as part of a “gas-led recovery” from the recession.

The Morrison government views gas as the best energy source to help them transition away from coal — despite renewables being right there — but still, Scott Morrison today said coal would continue to play an important role in our economy for decades.

Other draft commitments from Labor include expanding social welfare, creating a “living wage” for the gig economy, bringing in major industrial relations reforms and overhauling migration.

The policy platform was put together by senior Labor figures and has been sent for consultation to a nation policy forum made up of unionists, branch delegates and federal MPs.