Christiana Figueres who was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010 to 2016, has slammed Australia’s “suicidal” position on climate action saying it conveys “a lack of integrity”.
“The climate wars that have been going on in Australia for over a decade now are just – honestly they are such a suicidal situation because Australia… holds such promise with renewable energy,” she said during a recorded session for the Australasian Emissions Reductions Summit, which began online today.
Now the director of the global climate movement Mission 2020, Figueres said she had never shied from speaking about her frustration with Australia’s haphazard stance to a pressing emergency.
“I’ve been pretty vocal about my frustration for so many years of a completely unstable, volatile, unpredictable stand and position on climate change in Australia.”
“There is no other country that has as much sun potential as Australia,” she added.
Last month a bill was introduced in Parliament by Independent Zali Steggall working toward a net zero emissions target for Australia by 2050. It was signed by more than 100 organisations, including Unilever, Atlassian and the Clean Energy Council – with the support of over 92,240 signatures.
The bill called on the government to establish an independent climate change commission and incorporate the government’s technology investment roadmap; actions that the Morrison government vehemently opposes.
Rather than extend itself on Paris Agreement commitments, Morrison has instead suggested that Australia’s overachievements on Kyoto Protocol targets could be used as credits– a position Figueres simply branded “cheating” .
“It is just a total lack of integrity and not something that does Australia proud,” she said.
Earlier this year, Figueres spoke to Women’s Agenda’s Angela Priestley saying that despite her prevailing frustration with progress on climate change– and Australia’s inertia– that she remained “optimistic”.
“Since we can’t afford to fail, we have to take an optimistic route to this which means a gritty determination to harness our ingenuity and all our capacity to change things. I just don’t think that another choice is acceptable or responsible,” she said.
She also suggested that the role of women in pushing for action against climate change remained critical.
“On the front line, women are incredibly powerful. I’m not sure if it’s by choice or if it’s because women are the ones that are responsible for food and water, and being the backbone of the family, and therefore they a more and more resourceful in their adaptiveness and resilience,” she said.
“It’s evident that where there are more women in decision positions in companies, those companies are making better decisions — not just on climate but on other decisions as well.”