It is a well-known fact that Australia is probably the worst performer amongst developed nations in adhering to greenhouse emission reduction objectives. ScoMo made no commitments to set a target for the year 2030, a vital milestone to prevent the disastrous effects of climate change before it’s too late. Now, five courageous young Australians, including members from the First Nations and disability communities, have taken it upon themselves to bring to justice the climate inaction of the Australian government.
These five complainants, aged between 14 and 24, have lodged three complaints with the UN stating that their government’s inadequate emission reduction targets harm the rights of young Australians.
Having complained right before the COP26 summit, they wanted to build pressure and hoped key nations like the US and UK would persuade Australia to improve their emission reduction targets.
The group represented by lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia elaborated through their unique protest how they hoped for a secure future where everyone has equal opportunities.
One of the petitioners, 15yr-old Ethan Lyons who is living with a disability, stated in an interview, how representation of First Nations people needed to be seen in a larger context for the climate movement. He stated a safe future for all is the need of the hour when Australia is being ravaged each year by worsening bushfires and dangerous heatwaves. At the same time, fragile land is being destroyed for coal. He says action needs to be taken against people at the helm who are not acting on it.
Leila Mangos, 18, a member of the group, adds that the government’s inaction would be drastic for future generations. She says by 2030; she would be 26 when it would be too late to act on climate change since world leaders who are supposed to be responsible keep passing the buck. She suffers from depression and anxiety, knowing that the planet will not last if governments do not act on climate change.
In a statement, EJA Senior Climate Specialist Lawyer Hollie Kerwin said their clients are justified in wishing for a government that provides them with a safe future where they can prosper. The government owes it to them to commit to climate action, allay their fears and fulfil their dreams. It is more crucial now since the government has consistently failed at emission reduction targets endangering lives.