A key area of our advocacy work is climate aid. The 2014/15 budget shows that climate aid has been completely eradicated from the aid budget with all environmental programs completely defunded. This is in line with the Coalition’s Government commitment to shy away from any action on climate change. Climate change will undermine development progress, destroy critical infrastructure and exacerbate food and water shortages yet the Government has denied funding on this. Despite a renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific region, one of the hardest hit by climate change, the Government has opted for a route of absolute inaction.
Before the 2012 Federal election, the Australian Government had bipartisan support to increase its emission reduction target above 5%. The Government’s announcement in November 2013 that Australia would not increase this target will see Australia fall behind in international action. The Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt MP has said that Australia will only review its commitments in 2015, and only then if there are genuine, comparable and binding commitments by other countries. This delay, and use of the word ‘binding’, indicates that Australia only commits to observing what other countries decide rather than influencing a new climate agreement.
AID/WATCH believes that climate aid should be additional to overseas development assistance, that funding to environmental programs needs to be urgently reinstated and that the Government should take climate change, and its effects on the Indo-Pacific region seriously by prioritising funding in this area.