Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions

20.06.18 By , and
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In 2017, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased for the third consecutive year, approaching all-time highs (excluding the land use – LULUCF – sector). In order to limit global temperature rise and tackle increasing extreme weather fuelled by climate change, the Federal Government has committed to the near-universally agreed Paris Climate Agreement. As part of this agreement, the Federal Government has set in place an initial target to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target of 26-28% falls significantly short of what is required to effectively tackle climate change.

The Climate Change Authority recommended a 45-65% emissions reduction target for 2030 below 2005 levels, based on scientific evidence, what comparable countries are doing and what is in the best interests of Australia. Recent analysis implies that Australia will not meet its woefully inadequate 26-28% emissions reduction target.

This working paper profiles seven of Australia’s largest emitting sectors, focusing on whether emissions are going up or down in each sector and the reasons for the observed trends. It also assesses what opportunities and policies each sector has to reduce emissions. This working paper also analyses the magnitude of the emissions reductions required between now and 2030 if each sector were to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels. The working paper concludes that Australia’s emissions reduction target is far too weak to meet our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement and we are not on track to meet even this weak target.