Australia's conservation plan empty politics: Greenpeace

The head of Pacific affairs for Greenpeace Australia Pacific says Australia’s announcement it would join a programme protecting 30 percent of the world's land and sea by 2030 is a purely political gesture.

Auimatagi Joseph Moeono-Kolio’s comments come after Australia had joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, an intergovernmental group of 60 countries.

The High Ambition Coalition is a global pact to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and sea, to halt the loss of species and ecosystems.

Leaders from the G7 group of nations (a bloc of the world's wealthiest democracies, to which Australia was this year was invited on a temporary basis) have championed global biodiversity targets. The intergovernmental organisation met in the United Kingdom this month.

And, with a view to supporting these global targets, Australia is committing to protecting a combined 30 per cent of domestic land and ocean by 2030.

He told the Samoa Observer that Australia's claim to support 30 percent of global land and sea by 2030 is merely a political gesture in the absence of concrete measures for Australia to reduce its carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030, without which the environment will not be liveable. 

Auimatagi said that if Prime Minister's Scott Morrison Government is serious about protecting the environment and its talk of being part of the Pacific family, then it must do what it can to protect other family members.

He said this would involve stopping the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas, which Auimatagi explained is all of which are key drivers of climate change that is already devastating Australia and the Pacific, including Samoa.

“Anything less is rolling the dice with the lives and livelihoods of millions of Australians and Pacific peoples. Pacific nations have stood up and taken ambitious steps to curb emissions - Australia must play its part,” Auimatagi said.

The High Ambition Coalition is co-chaired by Costa Rica and France, with the United Kingdom as ocean co-chair.

Earlier this month, Australia had also announced that they have invested AU$100 million ($200.3 million tala) in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030 Plan in a bid to further protect the oceans and the environment.

On Tuesday Australia had a new Deputy Prime Minister appointed, Barnaby Joyce, a member of the National Party, known for his pro-mining and pro-coal stances, after he successfully challenged the party's existing leader.

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