“Complaining that it is too hard is not a solution. Saying it is up to others to come up with a plan is a cop-out,” Mr Kean said. “The community expects our leaders to get on with it, or get out of the way.”
Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor was approached to speak at the forum but organisers were told he was not available, Lisa Cliff, a program manager said.
Mr Taylor was approached for comment about his participation and the Prime Minister’s office for comment about the thrust of Mr Kean’s speech.
This week’s event will highlight how citizens, businesses and governments in Australia are ramping up efforts to cut emissions now rather than waiting for mid-century to reach net-zero emissions, Ms Cliff said.
“This next decade is really critical,” she said. “We need to be at least halving our emissions” by 2030.
The federal government’s ambition has been unchanged since the run-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement when former prime minister Tony Abbott pledged Australia would cut 2005 emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.
Mr Taylor has repeatedly said Australia will “meet and beat” that 2030 goal, a claim this week’s gathering will argue means the country can raise its target in time for November’s climate summit in Scotland.
Alok Sharma, the president of that summit, is due to address the forum near its conclusion on Thursday.
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