Sydney: A Greens New South Wales (NSW) member of parliament severely criticised the Tony Abbott government’s climate change policies, describing them as poisonous for the Australian environment.
Dr Mehreen Faruqi, a Member of the NSW Legislative Council, says the conservative government is wilfully ignoring the evidence and winding back any meaningful action on climate change.
“One of Tony Abbott’s first acts after gaining power was to abolish the Climate Commission and the carbon tax,” Dr Faruqi, who is also the Senior Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Environment Studies, University of New South Wales, said.
She hit out at the government’s direct action plan that according to her will not achieve even 5 per cent reductions by 2020, let alone the 40-60 per cent decrease required by 2030 for meaningful action on climate change. She blames both major Australian parties, Liberal and Labor, for being inconsistent and lacking direction on climate change.
“There is strong evidence that climate change is a human-induced reality, it requires consistent and continuous efforts over the long term,” she said.
Dr Faruqi said government policies have been led by quick economic pay-offs at the expense of long-term and serious reductions in emissions. She also mentioned Prime Minister Abbott’s direct action plan, which, she said, would make the public pay polluters to lower emissions and has the hallmarks of a simplistic way of thinking. “It won’t work, will waste money and not decarbonise the economy,” she claims.
According to Dr Faruqi, a change in Liberal’s leadership will not have any impact on Australia’s climate change policy.
“The policies of the political parties are driven by their political and ideological interests. The government should think about [the] environment and the welfare of people instead of vested interests and protecting the interests of big mining groups,” she said. She added that a change of face will mean nothing if same regressive policies are followed.
Dr Faruqi also said The Greens were developing pressure on Federal and State governments to phase out coal-fired power plants and for transition to renewable energy. “The Greens have a plan to transform New South Wales to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030,” she said in her concluding remarks.