SMALL STEPS: The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group protested in front of Luke Hartsuyker’s office for more climate change policy.
SMALL STEPS: The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group protested in front of Luke Hartsuyker’s office for more climate change policy. Claudia Jambor

A cool effort by leaders

EXPERTS and campaigners are blowing hot and cold about the new global commitment to tackling climate change.

World leaders from 195 nations united in Paris and established a landmark treaty taking action on climate change on the weekend, setting significant targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Associate Professor Caroline Sullivan of Southern Cross University, a climate expert, said after years of climate science debate, the agreement was "a fantastic step forward".

 

"We don't have to discuss about the science any more, it's a reality and we have to deal with it and that's the first time really that its been said on such a large scale," Dr Sullivan said.

A highlight of the agreement for Dr Sullivan was the "amazingly important goal" of keeping temperatures well below two degrees, the average global temperature rise and considered "the dangerous threshold".

"The fact that they are aiming for the 1.5 shows there's a measure of a sort of a precautionary principle recognising the uncertainty in these figures and if we can keep it to 1.5 degrees it's going to be a damn lot better than keeping it to two," she said.

Earlier this week, the Coffs Coast Action Group crowded around Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker's office, calling on the minister to "wake up" and take climate change more seriously.

For Coffs Coast Climate Action Group representative, Liisa Rusanen, the agreement was a small step on a long road to address climate change and she said the Australian Government needed a comprehensive plan to ensure the treaty targets were met.

"We're pleased that there's been a global agreement but the commitments made in the agreement aren't strong enough at this stage to stop warming at 1.5 degrees," Ms Rusanen said.

 

In a statement, Mr Hartsuyker said the Federal Government's policies were already achieving significant emissions reductions that would be reviewed in 2017.



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