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Letter to the Prime Minister Ahead of Climate Ambition Summit

On Tuesday 8th December 2020, Amnesty International Australia sent the following letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit. You can download the letter here or read it below:

8 December 2020

Hon. Scott Morrison

RE: Recommendation for Australia to enhance its climate ambition and submit a revised NDC that is human rights and 1. 5°C Compliant

Dear Hon. Prime Minister Morrison

I write to you ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit this weekend, an important milestone on the road to COP26 climate talks in 2021 and during which governments are expected to announce their revised climate pledges to the Paris Agreement.

Amnesty International Australia is heartened to learn that the Government would announce at the summit your intention to abandon plan to use Kyoto carryover credits to achieve Australia’s emissions reduction targets.

Climate change is a global human rights emergency, impacting the rights to life, food, water, health, housing, culture, among others. It disproportionately affects individuals and communities that are marginalised or subject to discrimination – including the First Nations peoples and with young people bearing the brunt of future impacts – but no one is exempt from the risks associated with climate change.

The bushfire crisis in late 2019 and early 2020 demonstrated just how real and catastrophic climate change is for Australia. This requires the Australian Government to take rapid and effective action at the national and international level to reduce emissions quickly and protect people from the impacts of the climate crisis.

Governments worldwide recognise the urgency of climate action, with Australia’s major trading partners – China, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the EU – having clear commitments to net-zero emissions and strengthening their near-term commitments. The US, under the incoming Biden administration, is set to follow.

Amnesty International calls upon Australia to:

● Announce ambitious new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at the earliest, which will align emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 with the imperative to keep the increase of global average temperature as low as possible and no higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
● Ensure that the transition towards a zero-carbon economy and a more resilient society is just, fair, human rights-consistent and reduces inequality. Such a transition is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
● Respect, protect and fulfil the right to information, participation and to effective remedies, as well as to freedom of expression and assembly in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the NDCs and all climate policies and strategies in line with SDG 16: peace, justice and strong institutions.
● Ensure that any COVID-19 response measures facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards human rights-consistent renewable energy and a zero-carbon economy and also provide for greater social protection and the creation of green and other new jobs that deliver sustainable and decent employment for all workers without discrimination of any kind.
● Take the lead in committing to zero carbon emissions by 2030 or as soon as possible after that in your NDC, given your greater capacity and greater contribution to the climate crisis.
● Indicate a commitment to reduce emissions from all sectors, including extra-territorial emissions, and to cease overseas fossil-fuel financing.
● Substantially increase funding and support for human rights-consistent climate initiatives, including technology transfer, in less wealthy countries that would not be able to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change themselves.
● Provide financial means, support and access to legal remedy to people whose rights have been negatively affected as the result of loss and damage caused by climate change, particularly in less wealthy countries.

We look forward to your positive attention to these matters.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Klintworth
National Director
Amnesty International Australia