Halfway to Paris: How the World is Tracking on Climate Change

This new report reveals that an emissions reduction target of 40-60% by 2030 would be the bare minimum for Australia to keep pace with its major trading partners and do its part to tackle climate change.

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KEY FINDINGS

The world is stepping up action on climate change, with Australia’s major allies and trading partners setting strong emissions reduction targets.

  • The United States aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 setting a path towards deep, economy-wide emission reductions of 80% or more by 2050.
  • The European Union has a reduction target of 40% by 2030 relative to 1990 levels.
  • By 2030, China aims to lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% from the 2005 level, and the world’s largest emitter aims to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, possibly earlier.
  • Australia is expected to submit its emissions reduction target by mid-2015.

Australia is a crucial global climate change player.

  • Australia is one of the largest emitters per capita and the 13th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, ahead of 182 other countries.
  • The emissions from Australia’s coal resources alone, if developed, would consume two-thirds of the world’s remaining carbon budget.

Australia’s domestic climate change policies are receiving more international scrutiny than ever before.

  • China, the US and other big emitters have questioned the credibility of Australia’s climate change targets and direct action policies.
  • Australia was singled out as the first developed country to take a legislative step backwards from action on climate change with the repeal of the carbon price in a recent report on global climate change legislation.
  • Australia was lambasted as a ‘free-rider’ on other nation’s efforts to tackle climate change in a report by former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Australia must cut its greenhouse gas emissions much more deeply and rapidly to contribute its fair share in meeting the climate change challenge.

  • A 2030 target of a 40-60% reduction below 2000 levels (or a range of approximately 45 to 65% below 2005 levels) is the bare minimum for Australia to be both in line with the science and the rest of the world.

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