Oxfam Australia calls for stronger climate action amid GDP risk

Australia could lose as much as 12.5% per year in GDP by 2050 unless there is more ambitious action on climate change, according to Oxfam Australia.

Oxfam Australia is calling upon G7 leaders and invited guest countries including Australia to cut carbon emissions more quickly and steeply. The G7 and guest countries are meeting in the UK this week.

Nations invited to the G7 summit could see an average loss of 11.5% by 2050 - equivalent to US$9.4 trillion, without more ambitious action on climate change. Oxfam Australia cited economic analysis from reinsurer Swiss Re as the basis for those predictions

"Deep carbon reductions and limiting global temp increase are the most critical actions for countries to collectively make," said Oxfam Australia climate justice strategic lead Melissa Bungcaras. "We also recognise that this is going to be transformative for many countries' economies."

Oxfam Australia also called upon developed countries to deliver on a longstanding pledge to provide US$100 billion per year to help poor countries respond to climate change. Oxfam Australia specifically called on Australia to renew its commitment to the Green Climate Fund.

"The goal is to make sure the transition doesn't further exacerbate those existing inequalities," Bungcaras said. "Our approach to just transitions is really advocating that this transition is going to be inevitable and countries need to be establishing plans early to give them a the better chance to support communities and workers in that process of planning, and engaging on what the diversification of the economy looks like, and at an individual/community level what their lives could look like in a new tech/green economy."

Governments should work with investors, business and non-governmental organisations to develop policies to plan and implement the economic shift that comes with meeting the Paris-aligned target of containing global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

"We're advocating that governments work closely with labour rights movements, affected workers, their communities as well as working with women to identify diversified economic activities at various scales that focus on green growth and green jobs," she added. "We also want to see, targeted public finance initiatives that also identify the broader funding pathways for both public and private finance to drive scale within the low carbon economy."

Government signals through policy shifts would help to catalyse private investment , Bungcaras said.

"The EU is probably leading in that space, as they set up a number of different initiatives to boost public and private investment in low carbon recovery."

There also needs to be more support and financial assistance for loss and damage relating to climate change, Bungcaras added.

"That would be in addition to the $100 billion per year global target on climate finance, and this is something we haven't seen developed countries engaging meaningfully within the [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] UNFCCC space," she said. "We need to start to see the dial turn on finance. You're starting to see it on emissions reductions, but not redistribution of resources and protection from loss and damage."

Read more: Oxfam AustraliaMelissa BungcarasSwiss ReUNFCCCUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change