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Australia Pledges To Cut Emissions 26% By 2030 Without The Tools To Deliver

Australia has pledged to cut carbon emissions by at least 26% from 2005 levels by 2030, but doesn’t have the policy tools to deliver on their promise.

This is the conclusion made by Bloomberg New Energy Finance associate Hugh Bromley, in a release pushed out on Tuesday. Bromley equates Australia’s 2030 climate target in terms of ambition to those made by the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the EU, but notes that “additional policy measures will be required” for Australia to even contemplate meeting its own target.

8219241614_2a5d0451dd_bAustralia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that his government intends to balance the economy with the environment — which for many Australians is code for “business first, environment last.” Mr Abbott said that the chosen target was “responsible and achievable.” Mr Abbott also stated that the target was “comparable to the targets of other developed countries,” adding that it will allow Australia’s “economy and jobs to grow strongly” — more code for putting the environment last.

However, despite the Prime Minister’s optimism, the analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) does not share the enthusiasm.

“The Australian government’s proposed emissions reduction target of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 is in line with the pledges made by other OECD nations, including the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the EU, analysis by global research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows,” wrote Hugh Bromley. “However, the commitments made to date are not sufficient to limit global average temperatures to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.”

Specifically, from the BNEF press release:

Australia’s unconditional 26% emissions pledge is:

  • Less ambitious than the EU and US, but more ambitious than Canada, South Korea and Japan when assessed against a common 2010 baseline year.
  • Less ambitious than China, South Korea and Canada, but more ambitious than the EU, US and Japan when assessed on an emissions intensity per unit of GDP basis.
  • Less ambitious than South Korea, Mexico, Canada and the US, but more ambitious than Japan and the EU when assessed relative to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s projection of each economy’s business as usual trajectory.
  • Equivalent to a 19% reduction on 2000 levels, the baseline used to assess the short-term target of a 5% reduction in 2020.

“This shows that the Australian government has judged the politics and nominated a headline target that is right in the middle of the pack with its trading partners,” said Kobad Bhavnagri, the head of Australia for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “However Australia, like most countries, is still not doing enough to keep the projected rise in global temperature below 2 degrees.”

Image Credit: Monash University, via Flickr

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