Friday, 5 September 2008

"Garnaut targets all wrong"

**Media release from People For a Safe Climate**

Professor Garnaut has missed an opportunity to tell Australian federal and state governments just how seriously to take climate change, according to grassroots climate group People for a Safe Climate.

Spokesperson Kamala Emanuel said, ``The two to three degree targets being promoted by the federal government is based on out-dated science and carries unacceptable risks.

``Professor Garnaut's greenhouse gas targets of 550ppm CO2-e, which he says is a step towards 450ppm on the road towards 400 gives such targets unwarranted legitimacy, when they risk nightmare scenarios not only for Australia, but for the world.

``Likewise, setting a target of reducing Australian emissions by only 10% on 2000 levels by 2020 (5% if there's not global agreement) is irresponsible in a global situation where underdeveloped countries are rightly demanding rich nations to show their seriousness by committing to deep cuts quickly.

"The record-breaking Arctic sea ice melt in the last two years dramatically underscores the conclusion that the global warming of nearly one degree that has already happened is too much.

"This was the conclusion of 'Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim,' a study led by James Hansen from NASA's Goddard Institute earlier this year.

``The only way to return to a safe climate is to bring greenhouse gas levels down to a level at which the Arctic Sea can stay frozen in summer - back to the 300-320 ppm CO2 it was at before the melting began.

``Only an emergency program to cut our emissions and take carbon out of the atmosphere is an adequate response to the challenge we're confronting,'' said Ms Emanuel.

``Many people doubt whether the government's carbon emissions reduction scheme will work. It certainly won't work if it has the wrong targets,'' observed Emanuel.

``The target should be as close to zero emissions as possible, as soon as possible, with commitments to bend every effort to bring it about,'' she said.

``This means emissions must peak within two years, and start to decline rapidly after that.

``At the same time, we must protect and expand the "carbon sinks" to pull carbon out of the air.

``We must commit to renewables for 100% of our electricity within 10 years, leaving coal in the ground, and expanding public transport.

``We demand the government listen to the science and take the action we need to safeguard the planet for current and future generations.

``We demand policies that can give us reason to hope, and confidence that there will be a safe climate for ourselves and our children,'' she said.

People for a Safe Climate is organising a Climate Emergency protest in Sydney on October 2 to call for renewables now. The group brings together people from a range of climate action groups and other environmental, peace, social justice and political organisations.


For interviews contact Kamala Emanuel 0417 319662, Alison Potter 0415 585 823

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