The Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, has told the Guardian the IPCC report “reinforces the government’s support for the science and the need to take action to combat climate change.”
“Australia is committed to addressing the challenges through direct and practical policy measures. This includes reducing emissions by five percent from 2000 levels by 2020. Central to achieving this is the creation of the Emissions Reduction Fund,” said Hunt.
“The five percent target represents serious action and is comparable with the action being taken by other countries when compared using 2005 as the benchmark starting point.”
Hunt also maintained the government’s argument that Australia’s carbon tax does not work and needs to be repealed.The federal government has twice now had a bill to repeal Australia’s carbon tax blocked in the Senate.
Shadow Minister for Climate Change Mark Butler said the government is making the wrong choices.
“The Abbott Government has consistently ignored expert advice about the impending risks of climate change and is attempting to unravel the policy framework established by the previous Labor Government which was designed to address the exact risks identified in the IPCC report,” said Butler.
“In its place, Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt are trying to introduce Direct Action, a deeply flawed, short-term tokenistic policy that pays big polluters to keep polluting.”
The Greens leader, Christine Milne called on the government to heed the IPCC’s report.
“In the face of more calls for a global response, the Abbott government wants to rip up every policy and tear down every defence that Australia has against climate change,” said Milne.
“This report shows that climate change is overwhelming and will affect every aspect of our lives. Not only will it dramatically impact the natural world we live in, it is an economic issue, an employment issue, a health, housing, and agricultural issue. It’s an immigration and a transportation issue.”