The Socialist Alliance has adopted radical greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets as part of its political program — 95% of stationary power emissions and 60% of overall emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020, and 90% of overall emissions by 2030.
The targets are minimal and provisional. In adopting them at its May meeting, the Socialist Alliance national executive recognised that many alliance members support even tougher emission reduction targets — including a zero emissions goal by 2020 — and decided to invite amendments to the policy from members and branches. These amendments will be considered at its June national executive meeting.
National coordinator Dick Nichols commented: "These targets are dictated by the global warming crisis. The science is telling us that we have to arrest the growth in greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible. Otherwise we risk crossing the crisis threshold of a 2°C increase in average global temperatures — with unimaginable consequences."
The alliance also set up an editing group with the job of producing the party's draft climate change charter — a popular explanation of its diagnosis of global warming and policy proposals for fighting it.
"The environment, especially climate change, will be at the centre of this year's federal election", Nichols said. "The alliance will be campaigning vigorously for a radical switch to renewables, a massive expansion of public transport and a radical reduction in energy waste, especially in industry.
"We shall also champion the polluter-pays principle, so that the cost of fighting climate change doesn't fall on the shoulders of working people, but on the corporate polluters and energy guzzlers."
Nichols stressed that the alliance would also be explaining that the various carbon trading schemes presently under consideration could not reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough — the energy corporations and corporate energy users would never accept the level of carbon price needed to force the rapid elimination of their greenhouse-gas generating investments.
The alliance national executive also voted to establish the position of climate change campaign coordinator, and elected long-term environmental activist Kamala Emanuel to the position.
For further information, phone Kamala on 0417 319 662 or Dick on 0425 221 565. The Socialist Alliance's special dossier on climate change is available online.