Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement by the United Nations’ World Heritage Committee that the Great Barrier Reef would not be listed as “in danger”, the state government has released its Queensland Climate Transition and Adaptation Strategies, which it says lay out plans for drastically reducing carbon pollution.
The goal to drive carbon pollution down to zero by 2050 was unveiled by deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, and Environment Minister, Steven Miles, in Cairns last week.
It was immediately branded by Opposition leader Tim Nicholls as a product of Labor’s extreme loony left ideology, and “nothing more than a blueprint for higher electricity prices and thousands of jobs losses for Queenslanders”.
Ms Trad said that “in the absence of any climate change policy from the Turnbull government, it is the states who are doing the heavy lifting to ensure Australia does its fair share to keep the global temperature rise to below two degrees”.
“Setting a target of zero net emissions by 2050 sends a clear message that Queensland will be a leader in the low carbon economy,” she said. “This will attract new investment and industries to our state, ensuring sustainable jobs for Queenslanders into the future.”
Mr Miles said UNESCO’s recent look at the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status noted climate change was one of its biggest threats.
“We must drive down emissions to prevent further coral bleaching events like the ones we’ve seen recently,” he said.
While the UNESCO committee welcomed Australia's progress in conserving the world's largest reef, it noted "with serious concern" the mass bleaching events that have taken place two years in a row, and said Australia must boost its efforts to safeguard the reef if longer-term targets were to be met.
It said authorities were making "slow" progress in meeting water-quality targets, which include an 80 per cent cut to nitrogen run-off and 50 per cent cut to sediment run-off by 2025, and said more work – and the successful passage of land-clearing legislation in Queensland – were required to meet the targets laid out in the government's 2050 long-term sustainability plan.
The state government’s three key climate commitments are:
- Powering Queensland with 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030
- Doing our “fair share” in the global effort by achieving zero net emissions by 2050
- Setting an interim emissions reduction target of at least 30pc below 2005 levels by 2030
LNP leader Tim Nicholls said Labor’s latest glossy brochures would mean the death of Queensland’s agriculture, construction, manufacturing and resources industries - sectors that provide nearly one in three jobs.
“I have never witnessed anything like today during my time in Queensland politics.
“I am gobsmacked by Labor's emissions policy which pretty much guarantees a carbon tax, billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies and will destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Queenslanders.
“We are already feeling the devastating impact of Labor’s climate change policies in Queensland - wholesale electricity prices have virtually doubled and household electricity bills have risen by more than $120.”