"The Australian government is “missing half the equation” in acting on the
climate crisis by backing a shift to renewable energy but having no plan to get
out of fossil fuels, according to an author of a new scientific review.
Prof Lesley Hughes is a leading climate change scientist and member of the
independent Climate Council and government advisory body the Climate Change
Authority. Hughes said there is a “cognitive dissonance” between Labor’s stated
commitment to addressing the problem and the pace at which it is moving.
The dissonance is most clear in it subsidising or approving new and expanded
fossil fuel developments while arguing it supports trying to limit global
heating to 1.5C – a goal agreed at UN climate conferences.
“The two things are completely at odds with each other,” she said.
Hughes is the co-author of a Climate Council review, released on Wednesday,
which found Australia should be cutting national carbon dioxide emissions by
75% by 2030. The government’s legislated target is a minimum 43% cut (compared
with 2005 levels).
The report said the country should be aiming to reach net zero emissions by
2035 – much sooner than the current 2050 goal. The finding is broadly
consistent with other analyses that have found Australia should be moving more
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