The Federal Government’s plan to cut carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 are letting down children and young people in Australia and across the world, says child rights organisation Plan International Australia.
The Government announced the target this afternoon. It puts Australia behind many other countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
Zoe Condliffe, a Youth Ambassador working with Plan International Australia, says that young people in Australia will be bitterly disappointed that the Government is not trying harder to tackle climate change.
“I’m 25, so I’m part of a generation that has contributed the least to climate change and yet will have to live longest with its terrible impact. So people my age are paying a very high price and we want this Government to get real on climate change. Instead they have come out with a disappointing target that leaves Australia lagging the rest of the world,” Condliffe says.
She notes that the World Health Organisation has found that more than 80 per cent of illnesses and death caused by climate change are suffered by children. Children in the developing world are particularly vulnerable.
“It is deeply unfair that children have such a tough time being heard – both in their communities and by world leaders – and yet they are the ones that are suffering the most as a result of a crisis they have done the least to cause,” Condliffe says.
“It’s even more unfair when children in the developing world are bearing the brunt of extreme weather like typhoons and floods when their countries do relatively little to contribute to climate change. In the meantime, here is Australia: the largest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.”
“People my age know that politicians can do more – look at what President Obama has done recently with his bold plan to challenge climate change – so we’re deeply disappointed when a leader like our Prime Minister misses a golden opportunity to make a real difference,” she says.
“Today’s announcement is exactly why young people like me don’t want to wait around for older generations to solve this problem – because it has been evident for a long time that they simply won’t. Instead, we are preparing to lead our own generation into a cleaner and safer future.”
“The message from my generation to the politicians of today is pretty simple: The time is now, so get on board or get left behind,” Condliffe says.
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.
Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945