Conservation groups call for action from new Australian govt

Anthony Albanese, Australian Prime Minister.(photo: https://twitter.com/AlboMP)

Canberra, May 23 (IANS) Environmental and conservation groups in Australia have called for climate action by the government led by the newly-appointed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which has been dubbed by many as a “climate election”.

“The trends across the country show a majority of Australians care deeply for bolder climate action and integrity in politics. It is a huge win (for) the environment at a time when nature needs us most,” Xinhua news agency quoted Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) CEO Kelly O’Shanassy as saying.

The group said a new government provides opportunity for an environmental “reset” as Albanese looks to make environmental conservation a part of his legacy in office.

“Together we can end the climate wars. Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower,” said Albanese in his election victory speech.

While welcoming a more ambitious gas emissions reduction target, O’Shanassy said that more would need to be done to reduce Australia’s reliance on coal and gas.

“Labor’s goal to have 82 percent of our electricity generated by renewables by 2030 is a step in the right direction, but the new government must reconsider its position on new coal and gas projects. It’s not what Australians want, nor what our environment needs,” she said.

Similarly, marine conservation group Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) called for the government to revise its emissions targets to reduce emissions by 75 per cent by the end of the decade and achieve net-zero by 2035.

AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides welcomed A$200 million ($142 million) in funding pledged for reef recovery projects over the next three years.

“(We support) promises to look after our precious environments by strengthening environment laws and protections for threatened and endangered species,” said Kindleysides.

Climate change played a huge role in May 21 election result, with a surge in support for candidates wanting urgent action.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government had committed to a 2030 emissions reduction target of 26 per cent-28 per cent, while Albanese’ has a target of 43 per cent.

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