The ACT has become the first Australian government to sign the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, said by signing to the Alliance, the ACT — the nation’s climate action capital — continues to drive climate action, delivering on a transition to cleaner, greener energy future.

“It also furthers our goals of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2045 – two of the most ambitious climate targets in the world.”

As of September 2018, the Powering Past Coal Alliance now counts 74 members, including 29 national governments, 17 subnational governments and 28 businesses.

“It’s staggering that 40 per cent of the world’s electricity is still powered through coal fuel. Carbon pollution is a leading contributor to climate change and rising sea levels, and its effects on human health through air pollution is a leading cause of respiratory disease,” Mr Rattenbury said.

It comes only days after the world’s leading climate scientists indicated that current national commitments will not keep us to less than a +1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.

If temperatures rise an extra half degree (to +2 degrees), we can expect:

  • More frequent and severe floods, fires, and weather extremes, and water shortages
  • Up to several hundred million more people exposed to climate-related risk and made susceptible to poverty by 2050
  • Higher sea level rises, with 10 million more people affected
  • Increased future insecurity
  • Greater loss of species, and significant impacts on biodiversity

“We are facing a climate emergency, and there is no time to lose,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Pacific nations are some of the most impacted countries in the world from the threats of climate change, with countries like Fiji directly impacted by rising sea levels and more destructive storms as the oceans warm.”

Earlier this year, an independent report found that majority of Australians would support phasing out coal power by 2030, including half the people in a sample identifying as Coalition voters.

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