Climate boss warns Australia must raise climate ambitions

The federal parliament’s massively expanded cross-bench of Green MPs and climate-focused Independent MPs, funded in part by renewable energy proponents, are set to clash with Labor over target when introducing a new legislation next week. Their preferred targets range from 60 to 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen has signaled he is open to a ‘ratchet mechanism’ that would allow the target to be raised in future, while several Labor MPs have privately expressed their view that the election result gave the party the opportunity to raise its ambitions.

Sharma will also meet privately with the so-called Teal Independents during his trip to Canberra, to discuss global efforts to combat climate change.

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He said science and recent real world examples of fires and floods in Australia and 40 degree days in London showed the chronic threat of climate change was getting worse.

“I strongly encourage all countries, including Australia, to be more ambitious,” Sharma said. “It’s a very good start, I think the Prime Minister’s commitment [Anthony Albanese] did is great, but of course now it’s also about delivery.

Britain, which has pledged to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 below 1990 levels, retains the summit presidency until Egypt takes over at COP27 in Sharm el -Sheikh in November. Until then, Sharma is committed to getting the green deals done and rallying the necessary support for nations to deliver on their pledges in Glasgow.

The Tory MP said he expected to discuss Australia’s bid for COP29 in 2024 during his personal meeting with Bowen this week, as well as Australia’s plans to meet its targets, which, according to him, would require commitments on coal, cars, trees and methane and an acceleration of the transition to renewable energy and clean technologies.

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He said the world also needs developed countries, such as Australia, and other providers of climate finance to ensure funds flow to national and local priorities, supporting the ambitions of developing countries.

Sharma said as a major global economy and member of the G20 Australia’s climate leadership would influence other nations and secure an economic dividend in a transition to a green economy.

“The G20 is responsible for 80% of global emissions, so I think all G20 countries really matter,” he said.

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