Australian federal government: Climate
Australian climate policy is a mess: It’s uncoordinated, short term and completely inadequate to meet our government’s commitment to limit warming to well below 2 degrees as well as providing reliable, affordable energy into the future. We need stronger emissions reduction targets, a carbon price, removal of fossil fuel subsidies, support for clean technology and an end to deforestation. In the midst of our policy chaos, there continues to be extraordinary talk of public money being used to support an Adani Carmichael coal mine. One potential conduit for government funding is the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF). We put in a submission to the Senate Enquiry on NAIF and participated in discussions with NAIF executives. We called for clear guidelines and process to ensure that government support is given for infrastructure which creates public benefit and not to subsidise private interests, particularly interests that threaten such tremendous harm as an Adani Carmichael mine.
Australian federal government: Human rights
We made a second submission to government supporting strong Australian Modern Slavery legislation to protect against forced labour. We called for the new disclosure requirements to have teeth i.e. penalties for non-compliance. We asked for companies to be obliged to not only disclose, but also to proactively act to safeguard against human rights breaches in their supply chains. We also called for targeted action to deal with forced labour and exploitation issues created by rogue operators in the labour hire sector. In particular we supported a national licensing scheme to regulate labour hire operators.
Australian federal government: Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC): Clean energy investment
Climate action requires huge investment in clean energy and other emissions reduction technology and infrastructure. Australia’s CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation) has a crucial role to play in catalysing this investment. As part of a review of CEFC we called on government for:
- a continuing focus on emissions reduction;
- support for green investment which genuinely drives new clean energy and does not facilitate greenwash;
- attention to international as well as Australian climate investment.
Australian federal government: Animal welfare; Poultry standards
We don’t invest in the poultry sector, but we participated in the consultation on animal welfare standards in the sector. We called for better protection for chickens, turkeys and ducks including:
- a ban on battery cages;
- elimination of use of key antibiotics which enable excessive crowding of animals and pose great risk to animal and human health;
- phasing out fast-growth, excessive weight chicken breeds which compromise animal well-being; and
- free range conditions which allow natural animal behaviours.
Australian federal government: Agriculture standards and transparency
The federal government began a parliamentary inquiry into superannuation fund investment in agriculture, including barriers to investment of super in the sector. Our submission:
- emphasised the broad social, animal and environmental impacts of the agriculture sector, including through exploitation of farm labour, inadequate animal welfare standards, unnecessary land clearing, and inadequate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- called for better management and reporting of impacts by agricultural companies, including their emissions, water use, waste, antibiotic use, worker injuries and animals’ well-being;
- called for government policy which supports a sustainable and diversified agricultural sector, including better regulation of land clearing, carbon pricing and banning of battery hen cages, sow stalls and live export; and
- called for an office of animal welfare to achieve genuine action to reduce animal suffering, which would operate independently of the heavily conflicted department of agriculture.
Governments globally: Climate policy and action
In June 2018 we supported the G7 Investor Statement on climate change which urged governments to:
- implement action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement with the utmost urgency, including to close the ‘ambition gap’ where current targets fall short of what’s needed to limit warming to well below 2°C, and we see little real effort to limit the increase further to 1.5°C;
- formulate and communicate long-term emission reduction strategies in 2018;
- put a meaningful price on carbon;
- phase out fossil fuel subsidies by set deadlines;
- phase out thermal coal power worldwide by set deadlines; and
- commit to improve climate-related financial reporting.