To the Responsible Parties of the Paris Agreement, From the Youth of Australia

Right now, the youth of Australia are not being listened to by our government, even though the impacts of the climate crisis are here now. Sydney and regional NSW are blanketed with smoke from catastrophic bushfires, with fires all across the country, and air quality 11 times what are hazardous levels.

Yet our government is trying to use an accounting trick to get out of acting on the driver of these devastating fires, climate change. Energy Minister Angus Taylor has continuously made misleading claims about the government’s reduction in emissions. Taylor claims Australia will meet its targets 7 years ahead of schedule, which is untrue.

A meaningful global target for Australia would be at least a 45% reduction. Yet Australia’s target under the Paris Agreement is 26-28% by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050. The Morrison government wants to count surplus emission reductions credits earned as Kyoto Credits. With these credits, Australia’s expected emissions reductions will be just 16% - not at all our fair share. We need to do something about this. We need to stop countries like Australia from being able to “cheat” their way out of real action on climate change.

Climate change is causing unprecedented drought and resulting in our bushland and forests drying out like never before, even in ancient World Heritage Listed rainforests that have never been subject to bushfire. We students have long lives ahead of us, and we don’t wish for this to be the new normal; but if sufficient action is not taken, it may well be the reality.

Climate change is already affecting us all and will continue to get worse, especially for those on the front lines and for Indigenous peoples. They are dealing with food shortages, land loss, water shortage, and loss of connection to their culture. All while the Australian government takes their land and sells it to mining companies for their own profit.

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