Policy & Politics

Published on August 29th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill


Australia’s Emission Targets Woefully Inadequate, Says Climate Action Tracker

August 29th, 2015 by  

Australia’s emission reduction targets are woefully inadequate, according to Climate Action Tracker, which found Australia to have one of the weakest climate targets in the world.

On August 11th, Australia submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030 of 26-28% from 2005 levels. However, Climate Action Tracker have determined that this target is “inadequate,” and falls in the bottom half of the range of industrialized nations.

“Australia stands out as having the most work to do of any industrialised country to achieve its already inadequate climate target,” said Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute.

Specifically, Climate Action Tracker determined that Australia’s target is in the range of around 5% below to 5% above 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions — which, in comparison, is well below the significantly higher reductions on 1990 levels other industrialized nations have put forth.

The “inadequate” rating indicates that Australia’s commitment is not in line with most interpretations of a “fair” approach to reach a 2°C pathway: if most other countries followed the Australian approach, global warming would exceed 3–4°C.

Furthermore, Australia’s policies bear no resemblance to its publicly announced targets — with Climate Action Tracker determining that if Australia’s policies remain in place as they are now, Australia’s emissions will actually rise more than 27% above 2005 levels, or 61% above 1990 levels by 2030, rather than decrease the aforementioned 26-28%.

“Currently implemented policy measures do not put Australia anywhere close to a track that would decrease emissions to meets its 2030 target INDC 2030 target, which in itself is entirely inconsistent with holding warming below 2°C,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.

“It is clear that Australia’s currently planned policies are inconsistent with its 2030 target, Australia needs to implement substantially more policies to meet that target.” added Kornelis Blok of Ecofys.

As a result of all this, the current cumulative abatement gap between 2013 and 2030 is equivalent to approximately three years of Australia’s national emissions, or 141 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“We have undertaken a forensic analysis of Australia’s climate target, and, contrary to government assertions, the abatement task has increased considerably over the years, reflecting the negative consequences of the Australian government’s repeal and amendments of key climate policies,” added Bill Hare.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • Dr.Madhav

    >“Australia stands out as having the most work to do of any industrialised country to
    >achieve its already inadequate climate target,” said Niklas Höhne

    I reckon Australia isn’t that worrisome considering its large landscape, low population and energy consumption patterns. There are many in the OECD list which must do a lot, say how about UK?

    The Internet isn’t blame free either. I mean, some biased nuts at Wikipedia do tricks to confuse people by NOT ranking the top 20 offending greenhouse nations. They deliberately do not update the statistics. Anyway, Australia isn’t a big worry with its low % in terms of global share.

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  • JamesWimberley

    It’s fun to think of “naming and shaming” stunts to embarrass the Australian delegation in Paris. Greenpeace could give them electric bikes marked “token green bike”?

    • mike_dyke

      If you swapped a motorbike for the bike, that would probably meet their target!

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