The Australian Youth Climate Coalition

COP21 Update: Australia leads on divestment

COP21 Update: Australia leads on divestment

The latest AYCC news and media from all across Australia

COP21 Update: Australia leads on divestment

New Divestment numbers have increased the urgency for the Australian government to embrace a clean energy future.

Jaden Harris writing from the UN Climate talks in Paris #COP21

IMG_3247.JPGNew analysis released yesterday at the Paris Climate Conference by calculate the total divestment commitments worldwide total an astonishing 3.4 trillion US dollars from over 500 institutions. In the last 10 weeks alone more than 100 institutions totaling $800billion ($1.09trillion AUD) have divested.

The divestment movement is perhaps the best example of community groups and progressive business coming together to tackle climate change, irrespective of whatever political leaders do. And the Australian community is a key leader in the divestment movement.

Most recently, the City of Melbourne has committed to going fossil free, bringing the sum of assets under management held by Australian institutions who have committed to divesting to $5.5bn. The number of Australian councils that have divested in the past year increased seven-fold. Australians get it, we need to move away from fossil fuels and embrace clean energy.

This new analysis only adds to the mountain of evidence that fossil fuels are on the way out. From the rejection of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline in the US, to the $2.5 trillion Solar Alliance announced in Paris this week by the Indian Prime Minister, the writing is well and truly on the wall.

For the first time in the UN Climate negotiations, a phase out of fossil fuels was a key them in leaders speeches on Monday here in Paris. Something that has long been an elephant in the room is now front and center thanks to the leadership of pacific nations, and the ‘long term decarburization goal’ in the draft text.

Yet Australia is being left behind. Our weak targets place us at the back of the pack. We refused to sign on to a communiqué phasing out subsidies to fossil fuels. We’re approving reckless new coal mines and CSG operations, and we cut the renewable energy target whilst everyone else is ratcheting up.

Young people are leading the divestment movement worldwide, from its beginnings on college campuses in the US to the victories across Australia. That’s because we’ve got a lot at stake in this debate. Not only will we be the ones left to clean up the mess of climate change, we’re the ones who will miss out on the benefits of clean energy, a clean, more equitable society.

Australia should be the clean energy superpower of our region, exporting our technology and expertise to the world. It just makes sense. We’re the sunniest and one of the windiest nations on earth. We’re an open economy well positioned in the Asian region, if anyone has a comparative advantage on clean energy it’s us.

Turnbull’s talk of becoming an innovative economy that embraces the tide of disruption is nothing but fluff unless he makes real commitments to renewables and the jobs of the future. His continuation of Abbott’s policies are not only an embarrassment, but are exposing our nation to an unprecedented level of economic risk, and it’s my generation who will pay the ultimate price. The harder we resist, the harder we’ll fall.

The divestment movement is growing at incredible phase. China’s coal use declined last year, years before expectations. Obama is keen to leave a Climate legacy.

The momentum to a clean energy future is unstoppable. The Australian community is leading, its high time our leaders did too.

Read more of Jaden's work here and follow him on Twitter at @JadenHarris95

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