Shorten vows to tackle climate 'emergency'

Shorten vows to tackle climate 'emergency'


National News
Labor's Bill Shorten has promised to prioritise action on climate change if he wins the election.

Labor's Bill Shorten has promised to prioritise action on climate change if he wins the election.

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Labor leader Bill Shorten has toughened his stance on climate change, labelling it an emergency he vows he will prioritise if he becomes prime minister on Sat...

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Labor leader Bill Shorten has toughened his stance on climate change, labelling it an emergency he vows he will prioritise if he becomes prime minister on Saturday.

The stronger language follows the lead of the UK parliament, which declared a climate emergency earlier this month.

It was soon followed by Ireland, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it at a Fiji summit this week as a "global emergency" requiring ambition and urgency.

Mr Shorten has been coy on whether he would make a similar declaration when previously asked.

But he is now promising to prioritise action if handed the keys to the Lodge.

"I promise we will send a message to the world that when it comes to climate change Australia is back in the fight," he said in his final major election speech in Blacktown on Thursday.

"It is not the Australian way to avoid and duck the hard fights. We will take this emergency seriously and we will not just leave it to other countries or to the next generation."

Labor's policies include a 45 per cent emissions reduction target on 2005 levels by 2030 as well as a 50 per cent renewable energy target.

The opposition has been hounded on the cost of its targets by the Liberal Party, which has a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target from the same baseline.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his approach to the issue is economically responsible but would also end the "climate wars" within the Liberal Party.

Climate action has been a divisive issue within the coalition, with some advocating coal-fired power and questioning the science of climate change, while others seek more renewable energy and emissions cuts.

Mr Morrison said he would govern from the centre of the party by sticking to the coalition's emissions target.

"That has been the same policy of this government since it was first articulated and has been carried through by our government," he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

"Australians don't want us to choose between having a job and taking action on climate change.

"We're ensuring Australia meets its global commitments in a responsible way."

Meanwhile, a group of scientists and experts is calling on the next government to prioritise action on climate change.

The 62 experts, including Nobel Prize winners and former Australians of the Year, penned an open letter to politicians featuring a graph showing Australia's emissions have been rising since 2014.

"The consequences of climate change are already upon us ... the solutions are all available to address climate change, all that is missing is the political will," they wrote.

Australian Associated Press

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