The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to increase global warming targets ahead of the Climate Change Summit in Paris.
National campaigner for the AYCC, Daniel Spencer, told The Newsroom the organisation wanted to move away from their reliance on coal, and hoped Mr Turnbull would aim for Australia to transition from traditional uses of coal energy and instead use “100 per cent new, clean [and] renewable energy” in the future.
Mr Spencer also wants the PM to increase Australia’s targets, which he claims were set “dangerously low” by former prime minister Tony Abbott, to tackle global warming ahead of the climate summit, which runs for two weeks from November 30.
“The AYCC wants to see pollution reduction that keeps global warming to 1.5 degrees… to do that we need to see at least an 80 per cent reduction on 2000 levels by 2030,” Mr Spencer said. “Malcolm Turnbull needs to step up before the Paris climate talks with strong policies.”
Australia’s new chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel also wants to see the use of fossil fuels in Australia phased out in the future.
“My vision is for a country, a society, a world where we don’t use any coal, oil, or natural gas,” Dr Finkle said at a press conference on Tuesday when his appointment was announced.
Dr Finkel will provide advice to the government and hopes to lift the profile of Australian scientific research. He will take the top job off the hands of current chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb in early 2016.
Professor Chubb has welcomed the appointment: “Dr Finkel’s appointment is a testament to his great vision for Australia, pursued with energy, insight and imagination over many decades.”
Dr Finkel said the best way to get rid of coal was to “introduce alternatives”, and he called on the Australian Government to consider all options for clean energy in the future, including the possibility of introducing nuclear energy.
“Nuclear energy is a zero-emissions energy… so it should be absolutely considered for a low-emissions, or zero emissions future,” he said.
“It’s not the only way forward, with enough storage we could do it in this country with solar and wind.”
The AYCC has applauded the new chief scientist’s stance on a coal-free future for Australia, but disagrees on the idea of nuclear energy because of the long-term effects they say it will have on the environment and the economy. The AYCC wants to see the government invest more in renewable energy sources.
“It’s great that our new chief scientist wants a world that has moved beyond old, dangerous, polluting fossil-fuels,” Mr Spencer said.
“[But] Australia doesn’t need to use nuclear energy [because it is a] risky form of energy. We can be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy in storage and the chief scientist stood next to Malcolm Turnbull and said that was possible.
“In the long term it’s actually a better choice for Australia’s economy to be looking at renewable energy. This [renewable energy] is the path Australia must choose to take and avoid the risks of nuclear power and fossil fuels.” – Story and photo by Daniel Walker