Canberra, Australia ( Associated Press) – Australia’s new government on Monday blamed the previous administration’s inaction on climate change for the increase in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions last year.
According to the government’s National Greenhouse Gas, Australia emitted 488 million metric tons (538 million US tons) of carbon dioxide and equivalent gases in the last calendar year, up 0.8% or 4.1 million metric tons (4.5 million US tons) from 2020. Is. Inventory Update for the December quarter released on Monday.
Factors driving the increase include a 4% increase in transport emissions as pandemic travel restrictions were eased and 4.2% more agricultural emissions as drought years ended in rain over large areas of south-east Australia.
Climate change minister Chris Bowen, whose centre-left Labor Party came to power in elections last monthAccused the previous conservative coalition of relying on COVID-19 and drought to reduce emissions by the end of its nine years in power.
“With the resumption of more normal economic activity, a steady recovery from drought, and increased manufacturing and resource sector activity, the previous government closed its record of denial and delay by increasing emissions,” Bowen said in a statement. Gave.”
Labor was elected on a promise to reduce Australia’s emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.
The former government had a less ambitious target of a 26% to 28% cut by the end of the decade.
Some small parties and independent lawmakers are calling for strong action to reduce global warming to below 2 °C (3.6 °F).
By the end of last year, Australia had achieved a reduction of 21.4%, according to the latest figures released on Monday.
Ted O’Brien, a spokesman for the opposition on climate change, said Australia’s emissions were now lower than at any time when Labor was in government from 2007 to 2013.
O’Brien challenged the new government to defeat its goal by delivering cheap electricity and providing economic growth.
Tim Baxter, a senior researcher at the Climate Council think tank, had expected Australia’s emissions to rise further this year before the new government’s more effective policies yield results.
“Policies like these take a while to be implemented,” Baxter said. “They may be strong, but the Labor Party has some measures in place that will start to bend the curve.”
The council is an independently funded non-profit organization that replaced the Climate Commission, a publicly funded agency that was abolished in 2013 by the previous government.
The council recommended Australia reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2035. Government’s net-zero target is 2050.
News of Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions comes as climate activist group Blockade Australia kicked off a week-long campaign of disruption in Sydney by closing the Downtown Sydney Harbor Tunnel during a peak traffic period on Monday morning.
Traffic on the Sydney Harbor Bridge had to be re-routed for about an hour.
Police arrested 11 protesters One woman was also involved, officials said, who parked her car in the tunnel’s south-facing lanes and then tied her neck to the steering wheel with a lock and chain.
New South Wales State Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Dunston condemned the actions of some 50 to 60 protesters.
“The behavior of this group was nothing short of criminal activity,” Dunston said.
“Throwing of bicycles, throwing dustbins, throwing other things in the way of the police, in the way of the media, in the way of innocent members of the public, will not be tolerated and cannot be done by the people of New South Wales,” he said. .
Blockade Australia protest organizer Sally-Ann Brown said the disruption was necessary because policymakers were not listening.
“Today I realized that the public is not upset, the police are upset,” Brown said.