Turnbull, Shorten Bicker Over COP21 Climate Goals

30/11/2015 11:36 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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World leaders are arriving in Paris for the COP 21 climate change conference, with the global environmental forum set to dominate the news internationally and domestically in coming days.

Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in capital cities around Australia on Sunday for the People's Climate March, demanding leaders come to a meaningful agreement in France.

"This absolutely is the largest climate change rally we have ever seen in Australian history," rally organiser Victoria McKenzie-McHarg told an estimated 60,000-strong crowd in Melbourne.

Labor leader Bill Shorten, who attended the Melbourne rally, put the pressure on Malcolm Turnbull -- in Paris to attend the conference -- to commit Australia to doing more in the global climate sphere.

"It’s a real shame Malcolm Turnbull is following his party on climate change, not leading it. Malcolm Turnbull used to believe in strong action on climate change. Not only is he selling himself out, he's selling Australia out," Shorten said.

"The economic cost of inaction on climate change will hurt Australians."

"Australia goes to Paris as the only developed country which has gone backwards on climate change."

Last week, Shorten announced a Labor government would commit to a goal of generating 50 per cent of Australia's from renewable sources by 2030 and investigate a policy gunning for a 45 per cent reduction in carbon pollution based on 2005 levels.

Turnbull had called Labor's plan a "heroic offer" that would be too expensive and put Australia "way out of line with other comparable countries".

Turnbull is said to be heading to Paris in favour of greater monitoring of international emissions reductions targets. He said on Saturday that Australia's reduction targets were "very reasonable."

Australia's current commitment is to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent, based on 2005 levels. In a release, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said that commitment would see Australia become one of the highest per capita emitters in the world and implored the PM to bump up Australia's contribution.

"As the conference begins, Mr Turnbull must show a commitment that reflects the enormity of the challenges posed by climate change in our region," she said.

“Australia is surrounded by countries that are literally drowning from the impacts of climate change.

"They have contributed the least to climate change but are suffering the most from its impacts, from shifting seasons making it harder for people to grow food, to more intense cyclones.”

Oxfam said Australia should commit to reducing its emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025, 65 per cent below by 2030 "and achieve zero emissions well before mid-century."

Speaking on Sunrise on Monday, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari also asked the government to do more on climate change.

"If global temperatures increase by over 2 degrees, which is where we are heading, we're talking about floods, we're talking about droughts... and the only job you'd want to have in that kind of an economy is being a Venetian architect because we're going to have to redesign our coastal cities," he told Sunrise.

Sunrise - 29.11.15

My comments on Sunrise ahead of Paris and #climatemarch rally:"If global temperatures increase by over 2 degrees, which is where we are heading, we're talking about floods, we're talking about droughts... and the only job you'd want to have in that kind of an economy is being a Venetian architect because we're going to have to redesign our coastal cities"

Posted by Sam Dastyari on Saturday, 28 November 2015

The COP21 conference starts on Monday in Paris, wrapping up after two weeks on December 11.

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