THE ACT government is the first of its authority in the world to sign a treaty that aims to reduce fossil fuels.
But after an unanimous vote inside the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (June 2), only support from the federal government that has been propping up coal, oil and gas interests will impact the treaty positively should the Commonwealth dismiss similar future projects.
Greens backbencher Jo Clay moved the motion to join a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.
ACT is the only Australian jurisdiction that does not subsidise fossil fuel reserves, but its the federal taxpayers that hands over $10.3 billion to an industry “that is wrecking our climate” amid Australia also laying claim to the third biggest exporter in the world of the hydrocarbon fuels.
“We are actually calling on the federal government to take the action that we need,” Ms Clay said.
The territory’s solitary government stand could also come to very little after Australia’s big four banks were found to have loaned a further $35.5 billion to fossil fuelers since 2016, according to research from the Australian Institute.
Only six municipalities internationally including inner Melbourne council, Moreland City, and that extends to Los Angeles, Vancouver and Barcelona, have also endorsed the global fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.
Ms Clay said the backstory of the movement was following the footsteps of global action on the disarmament of nuclear weapons to avoid “another apocalypse” of climate emergency.
The Greens believe that the fossil fuel treaty has been left out of the Paris Agreement of 2016 that lies within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“A fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty can keep a large swathe of fossil fuels in the ground,” Ms Clay said.
“It would start with an assessment of existing reserves and then an agreement on how we would phase down production.
“It would align fossil fuel use with Paris agreement targets.
“It would help the poorest countries get through this difficult phase and give them energy independence.”
The treaty is the backbone behind phasing out fossil fuel supplies, based on the three non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use pillars that results in forking out for low carbon alternatives.
The ACT Greens had proposed to phase out fossil fuel gas by 2040 heading into last year’s election and Labor-majority government responded to agree to terms by 2045.
The coalition government announced it has overhauled plans for Whitlam to remove a gas connection, that the Molonglo commercial centre will be gas free and that all new Canberra suburbs will only run on renewable electricity.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said joining the treaty will create 2000 sustainable jobs.
“The best contribution we can make as a city to the global effort is to reduce emissions and take real action ourselves, to address climate change but also in doing so demonstrate how public policy can be implemented at a sub-national government level can work,” he said.
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