Ex-fire chief predicts Labor will strengthen 2030 climate target after meeting minister

ザ・ longest-serving former fire commissioner in Australia, Greg Mullins, has predicted the Albanese government will ramp up its 2030 emissions reduction target over the coming years, because Labor is prepared to take advice from experts.

Mullins made the prognostication after meeting the new climate change minister Chris Bowen in Canberra on Thursday.

Mullins met Bowen with colleagues from Emergency Leaders for Climate Action – an expert group that attempted to warn the Morrison government about the impending bushfire catastrophe ahead of the 2019-20 fire season, but were ignored.

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action supports a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, recognising that climate change has become an existential threat. The Labor government’s 2030 target is 43%.

Bowen said he had deliberately scheduled the meeting with the former fire and emergency services chiefs as his first non-departmental briefing after being sworn in as minister on Wednesday. He said the group had been given priority because they were Australians with great expertise.

After he had praised the group’s expertise, Bowen was asked whether Mullins and his colleagues were wrong to advocate a 75% emissions reduction target.

Bowen didn’t address the point directly. He said Labor had sought an electoral mandate for a 43% 目標, and its impact had been modelled before Labor made the commitment. Bowen said Labor would update Australia’s nationally determined contribution with the United Nations to reflect the 43% 目標.

Mullins praised Bowen for opening the door to experts, describing the invitation to meet as a “stark contrast” to the outgoing government. He said it was time for Australia to end the climate wars.

“No more blame, no more misinformation – we need to get on with this task," 彼は言った.

While he favours a 75% 目標, Mullins said “43% is a lot better than 26 to 28%” – which was the Morrison government’s 2030 目標.

Addressing the comment to Bowen, Mullins added: “Minister, we did say today that if you meet and beat 43%, there is a trophy at the end of it for you, and that is the safety of our kids and grand kids.”

He said the science was clear about the need for countries to take ambitious action to reduce emissions over the short and medium term.

“Because they are going to take advice from experts, I am confident that those targets will be ramped up over the next few years,” Mullins said.

Mullins said Australia’s international reputation as a positive global contributor on climate action had suffered during nearly a decade of Coalition government.

“Australia has always had a leadership role in the world on nuclear disarmament, anti-apartheid, human rights – but we have said for the last 10 年, we can’t make a difference with an existential threat of climate change," 彼は言った.

“We can. This country can because we have influence and we have always done the right thing.”

Mullins said Australia’s standing had recovered “immediately” after the election of a new government with a more ambitious set of climate commitments.

Bowen told Guardian Australia earlier this week that the government would introduce a climate bill that included its emissions reduction targets – including a 43% cut by 2030 と比べて 2005 levels – because enshrining them in law was “best practice”.

But he said it would not “spend years of negotiations” if the Senate “starts to engage in climate wars on legislation”.

Bowen reiterated a commitment to restore the Climate Change Authority as a central advisory body after it was sidelined under the Coalition, and said it would be expected to give science-based advice on a new emissions target for 2035 before the end of this term of parliament.

But he dismissed scientific assessments that suggested Labor’s 2030 emissions target was not enough for Australia to play its part in living up international commitments to aim to limit global heating to 1.5C.

“I don’t accept that 43% is not consistent, because it is what’s necessary to get to net zero [沿って 2050],” Bowen told Guardian Australia.

“I’ve seen commentators pointing out that is a good number for Australia to reach and it brings us back into the pack.

「明らかに, we’ll be seeking to implement our policies, and we hope they will be very effective. If they are more effective than we have modelled, fantastic.”