Open Letter: Pressure Grows to Put Science Before Politics & Fossil Fuels

Over 50 Australian environmental and climate organisations have joined together to call on the Federal Government to listen to scientific evidence on climate change and to prevent new fossil fuel projects and expansions.

The open letter, published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times today, comes as the Federal Government continues negotiations with the Senate crossbench over its Safeguard Mechanism and concerns over the expansion and creation of 100+ fossil fuel projects.

Signed by the likes of Greenpeace, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the Wilderness Society, GetUp, 350 Australia, Lock the Gate, Oxfam and more, the open letter follows a similar open letter signed by over 100 Australian scientists and experts including Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty and Professor Fiona Stanley.

In part, the open letter reads:

“The Australian Government lists over 100 new coal and gas projects as under development in Australia. Projects scheduled to begin before 2030 alone will add a further 1.4 billion tonnes annually by 2030. This excludes emissions from several major projects and vast new gas basins actively supported by Australian governments including the Barossa and Greater Sunrise offshore oil and gas fields, and the Beetaloo, Canning, and Lake Eyre unconventional gas basins.

“As the world’s third largest exporter of fossil fuels Australia has a special responsibility to stop fuelling the increase in global emissions caused by Australian gas and coal production, both here and overseas. Any serious climate policy must reduce fossil fuel production and emissions. Offsetting a tiny fraction of the total emissions from these projects is not a credible climate solution.

“We call on the Australian Government to follow the advice of the world’s scientists and prevent any further new coal and gas developments in Australia.”

Polly Hemming, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute, said:

“Science needs to be at the heart of Australia’s climate policies. Climate policy that doesn’t address fossil fuels might solve short term political problems, but it won’t solve the underlying problem driving climate change.”

Darren Kindleysides, CEO of Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), said:

“To protect the future of our precious Great Barrier Reef we must keep global heating to 1.5C. That means we can’t keep approving new fossil fuel developments on land or at sea.”

Kelly Albion, Campaign Director at 350 Australia, said:

“Fossil fuel corporations have known for decades the damage that coal, oil and gas are causing our climate, but they have no intent on slowing down. It’s time for Labor to stand with communities who want to keep fossil fuels in the ground, instead of siding with the coal and gas lobbies.”

Carmel Flint, Coordinator of the Lock the Gate Alliance, said:

“Rural and regional communities across Australia are being forced to live with the devastating direct impacts of coal and gas projects on land and water. They are also at the mercy of fossil fuel-driven and ever worsening climate extremes including fires, floods and droughts. Rural Australia can’t survive new coal and gas projects. We need to act now.”

Kirsty Howey, Executive Director of the Environment Centre NT, said:

“Northern Australia will be uninhabitable due to climate change if we don’t take urgent action, yet it is ground zero for the gas industry’s expansion plans. We are imploring the Labor Government to stop new fossil fuel projects, or risk sacrificing the liveability of northern Australia.”

Related documents

full open letter here

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