In a stunning upset, voters returned the pro-coal government, prompting soul-searching among Australia’s left wing parties.
The former environment minister Peter Garrett has urged an incoming Labor government to convene a climate emergency summit to plot a transition to zero carbon, and create a super department aligned to Treasury, like the Department of Post War Reconstruction after the second world war, to implement the transition.
Australia had the world’s 15th largest greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 and its citizens’ per-capita contribution is around three times the global average. It is the world’s second largest coal exporter and recently became the top exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG). Its electricity system remains heavily reliant on coal, despite ramping up the use of gas and renewables, especially rooftop solar.