New Hope for Curbing Climate Change

This week started with two pieces of positive international climate action news: The G7 announced an agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century; and new figures show China's emissions will peak five years earlier than expected.

Both announcements are indications of the shift in how the world is dealing with climate change. The world's biggest nations are acknowledging that our dependence on fossil fuels needs to end and we need to transition into a new clean energy system.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G7 leaders recognise the need to: "decarbonise the global economy in the course of this century". The G7 nations - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - agreed on a global target for limiting the rise in average global temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

Despite the fact that the G7's proposal does not include binding targets, the announcement gives us hope that plans for ending major use of fossil fuels could be agreed on at the Paris climate talks later this year.

The news out of China - the world's largest carbon emitter - that its emissions are likely to peak in 2025, is another great sign of our chances to stop global warming at safer levels. China's emissions are expected now to start declining after 2025, which is not great news for Australia coal exporters who have long counted on Chinese consumption of the dirty fuel.

At a time when the rest of the world is taking action on climate change, it is disturbing that the Australian Government continues to push us backwards. With temperature records around the world breaking ever more frequently, we need to stop increasing the levels of carbon in the atmosphere that are driving climate change - and that is what the rest of the world is attempting to achieve.

I am determined that the City of Sydney will continue to take serious action to reduce our contribution to climate change, including supporting renewable energy.

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