Jack River has slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s outlined plan for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050 as “gutless” and “paper thin”.
At the beginning of the week (October 25), Jack River – real name Holly Rankin – signed an open letter, delivered by advocacy group Global Citizen, calling for the Morrison government to draft a clear plan for Australia to reach net zero emissions (a balance between greenhouse gases produced and greenhouse gases taken out of the atmosphere).
The letter, which was also signed by 5 Seconds Of Summer, Jessica Mauboy and Laneway festival co-founder Danny Rogers, specifically called for an “ambitious” emission reduction target for Australia by 2030, a commitment and plan to reach net zero by 2050 and “increased international climate financing” to aid nations that have been most adversely impacted by changing climate and environment.
On Tuesday (October 26), the Prime Minister outlined his government’s plan to reach net zero by 2050, less than a week out from the beginning of COP26 – the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – which will take place in Glasgow from October 31.
Morrison outlined that Australia would achieve the goal by investing more than $20billion in “low emissions technologies”, including soil carbon sequestration and production of low-emission steel, through the next decade. The government also estimated that Australia will cut 30 to 35 per cent of emissions by 2030, and that the plan will create over 60,000 jobs. However, the zero-by-2050 target has not been made law, unlike previous commitments to reduce emissions by 2030.
Rankin has told NME that she is “completely unsatisfied” by the plan Morrison has outlined.
“A plan announced on paper with no legislative commitment is not good enough,” she said, “it’s paper thin, gutless, and it’s going to cost our country now and in the long run… We need decisive action in the next decade to keep the planet below 1.5 degrees of warming.”
Comparing Morrison’s plans to that of other nations, and targets outlined by various bodies and organisations, Rankin said, “The business, agriculture and renewable energy communities, unions like the [Australian Council of Trade Unions] and the next generation of voters want a net zero by 2030 target.
Rankin also specifically outlined to NME some of her hopes for the country’s national climate policy, saying that Morrison’s plans mean that “we’re literally throwing away the country’s future”.
“I would like to see the government make a commitment that looks more like 75 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, and net zero by 2035,” Rankin said.
“I would also like to see Labor make a policy like this ahead of the next election. We will likely not see it from either party, and it makes me want to explode with anger and sadness on so many levels.
“We are literally throwing away the country’s future to save the jobs of a handful of greedy politicians who are funded by oil and gas companies and blind trusts.”
While the Australian Labor Party has yet to deliver its own policy, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has also criticised Morrison’s plan, saying that he “left it to the last possible minute to outline a scam that leaves everything to the last possible minute”.
Yesterday, Rankin posted a video on her Instagram of her contacting Morrison’s office with her complaints, with a caption that read, “These humans that represent us are elected by us and accountable to us. I’m pissed off that today they have made a decision not to put their commitment into law, and not to make a 2030 target.
“Scott Morrison will be living in a solar-powered nursing home, on $450,000 a year. My kids will be dealing with hell on Earth. And here in 2021, our country did nothing about it.”
Last month, Jack River released her first single in almost two years titled ‘We Are The Youth’, which championed young activists around the world. Rankin said that she was inspired to write the song after attending the 2019 School Strike 4 Climate protest.
River’s advocacy this year extended to the 2020 Olympics as well, calling on Channel 7 to play music by Australian artists during its coverage. In response, Edwina Bartholomew, Sunrise presenter and a journalist that was covering the Olympics for the network, told Rankin that they would “beef up the Aussie music in the arvos”.