Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it is a social justice issue and failing to halt climate change will cause greater poverty and inequality in the future.
To limit the impact of dangerous climate change, Australia and the rest of the world need to rapidly reduce its emissions. This can, and should, be achieved in a low-cost, equitable and inclusive manner, to make sure that people on low incomes or experiencing disadvantage are not left worse off.
The energy sector is Australia’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gases and must be a key part of Australia’s contribution to limit global warming. However, the poorly-managed transition to clean energy has contributed to skyrocketing electricity prices, inequitable clean energy policies, and uneven distribution of distributive energy such as household solar and batteries. As a result low-income households are struggling to heat and cool their homes and afford other essential services.
Even if we rapidly reduce emissions, the world has already locked in significant levels of pollution which is fuelling extreme weather such as heatwaves, fires, floods and storms. We need to build resilience and reduce the impact of climate change.
Cut carbon pollution
- Set emissions reduction targets of zero net emissions before 2050 and at least 45% by 2030.
- Implement a credible, low-cost and equitable plan to transition to a clean economy that: includes a carbon price with complementary measures; prioritises the energy sector for faster emissions reductions; and supports vulnerable groups including low-income households, and affected workers and communities.
- End fossil fuel subsidies
Support rapid transition to clean, affordable energy
- Work with COAG to implement mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties; co-fund energy efficiency and solar for social housing and Indigenous communities; and provide funds for homeowners on low-incomes to invest in solar and energy efficient measures.
- Improve peoples’ capacity to pay energy bills by increasing Newstart; retain the Energy Supplement in full; and instigate a review to improve the uptake and adequacy of energy concessions, including shifting to full or partial percentage-based concessions.
- Develop energy affordability and stress indicators to measure and reduce energy stress.
Build resilience to the impacts of climate change
- Fund production of an Australian social vulnerability map to enable development of local climate change adaptation and resilience plans; support communities to develop local climate change adaptation and resilience plans; and strengthen individual and local communities’ capacity to better adapt and become resilient to local climate change factors.
- Establish a program to support community sector organisations to adapt to climate change, be better prepared for emergencies and disasters, improve resilience of their clients, and ensure continuity of care for vulnerable people.