Australia’s GHG emissions are set to rise steeply over the next 15 years, and the government must find a way to cut a further 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 between now and 2030 if it is to meet its UN climate pledge, analysts at Climate Action Tracker said.
Earlier this month, the Australian government pledged to cut GHG emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, a target Environment Minister Greg Hunt said put Australia on top in terms of improved per capita emissions.
But a new report from analysts Climate Action Tracker had a different conclusion than the Australian government. It said Australia’s target was inadequate and that global temperatures would rise 3-4C if all countries put in similar efforts as Australia.
It also said Australia would get nowhere near meeting the target unless it introduces a host of new policies, estimating that its 2030 emissions would stand 27% above 2005 levels by 2030 without new measures.
“Australia stands out as having the most work to do of any industrialised country to achieve its already inadequate climate target,” said New Climate Institute’s Niklas Hohne, one of the authors of the report.
On reductions per capita, Australia ranks eighth of nine developed countries assessed, the study said, rubbishing Hunt’s claims of leading the world.
“Current policy projections in Australia do not imply any improvement in emissions per capita from today’s level,” the report said.
DIRECT ACTION FAILURE
Australia’s key policy to meet its target is the Direct Action Plan, under which it pays emitters to reduce their GHG output.
A number of independent studies have concluded the plan will be hugely expensive and difficult to ramp up to achieve the emission cuts the government has pledged.
“The central plank of the Australian Government’s climate policy – the Direct Action Plan – would see emissions increasing substantially to more than 61% above 1990 levels by 2030, or around 27% above 2005 levels,” the Climate Action Tracker report said.
Meanwhile, the recent scale-down of the renewable energy target to 33,000 GWh from 41 GWh would slash cumulative emission cuts by 141 million tonnes.
The Coalition government’s dismantling of most of the previous Labor government’s climate policies means Australia’s emissions are set to grow on average by 1.5% each year, while the nation needs to cut carbon 2% annually if it is to meet the target.
“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,” said Kornelis Blok of Ecofys, another co-author.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org