Nation’s climate action capital joins global alliance to phase out coal

Released 11/10/2018

The ACT has committed to rapidly phasing out traditional coal power by becoming the first Australian government to sign the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

“By signing to the Alliance, the ACT—the nation’s climate action capital—continues to drive climate action, delivering on a transition to cleaner, greener energy future,” Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said.

“It also furthers our goals of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2045 – two of the most ambitious climate targets in the world.

Coal = climate disaster

As of September 2018, the Powering Past Coal Alliance now counts 74 members, including 29 national governments, 17 subnational governments and 28 businesses. In 2017, the Federal Government refused to join the alliance, and remains committed to coal as an energy option.

“It’s staggering that 40 percent of the world’s electricity is still powered through coal fuel. Carbon pollution is a leading contributor to climate change and rising sea levels, and its effects on human health through air pollution is a leading cause of respiratory disease.

It comes only days after the world’s leading climate scientists indicated that current national commitments will not keep us to less than a +1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.

If temperatures rise an extra half degree (to +2 degrees), we can expect:

  • More frequent and severe floods, fires, and weather extremes, and water shortages;
  • Up to several hundred million more people exposed to climate-related risk and made susceptible to poverty by 2050;
  • Higher sea level rises, with 10 million more people affected;
  • Increased future insecurity;
  • Greater loss of species, and significant impacts on biodiversity.

ACT supports Pacific Island neighbours in fight against climate change

“We are facing a climate emergency, and there is no time to lose,” Mr Rattenbury said. “Pacific nations are some of the most impacted countries in the world from the threats of climate change with countries like Fiji directly impacted by rising sea levels and more destructive storms as the oceans warm.

“It is an honour today to be joined by Fijian High Commissioner His Excellency Luke Daunivalu. The ACT is proud to stand with our Pacific neighbours in the fight against a warming climate.

“The stance of the current Federal Government is to knowingly turn a blind eye to climate science. That is what makes it so morally reprehensible – they have the information, they just choose to ignore it.

“While the Federal Government refuses to act in humanity’s best interests, the ACT remains a committed partner in the fight against a warming climate.”

Earlier this year, an independent report found that majority of Australians would support phasing out coal power by 2030, including half the people in a sample identifying as Coalition voters.

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Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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