A new report outlines how Australia is being left behind in the global race to urgently reduce emissions during the 2020s to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The Crunch Time: How Climate Action in the 2020s will Define Australia report makes the case for why, as a first step, Australia must return to COP27 next year with a pledge to at least halve its emissions by 2030.
The researchers found the Liberal Party’s 26-28% target is inadequate and leaves Australia in the dust when compared to its major allies.
Labor’s newly announced 43% emissions reduction by 2030 brings Australia closer to a path of credible climate action, but effectively means other countries need to pick up the slack in order to avert dangerous levels of global warming.
The 2030 targets of Australia’s strategic allies are the US: a 50-52% cut (on 2005 levels), the UK: a 68% cut (on 1990 levels) and the EU: a 55% cut (on 1990 levels).
The Climate Council is calling for Australia to reduce its emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030. As a first step, the federal government should match key allies and commit to halving emissions this decade.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said:
“Policy decisions made today are so important because our future depends on how quickly and decisively we respond to the climate challenge in the 2020s. So much is at stake: our whole way of life, our health, our livelihoods. Our window to avoid catastrophe is closing.
“The reality is that if all countries were to adopt the Morrison government’s ‘do-nothing’ approach, we’d be trying to survive on a planet warmed to somewhere between 3C and 4C by 2100. Labor’s 2030 target is better, but falls short of what the science demands.
“We know that we must do everything possible to limit warming to 1.5C, and that this requires emissions to plummet this decade. We know that every fraction of a degree of avoided warming matters, and will be measured in lives, species and ecosystems saved.
“Australia signed the Glasgow Pact at COP26 last month, which demands increasing ambition on emissions reductions this decade. All of our allies are taking this seriously. We have to do better and at least match them by taking a 50% emissions reduction to COP27 next year and improving on it year on year during the 20s.”
Crunch Time key findings:
- The Morrison government’s weak 2030 target is out of step with the rest of Australia and the world, effectively setting us on a path towards catastrophic global warming.
- Australia signed up to the Glasgow Climate Pact, which collectively commits the world to a 45% reduction in emissions this decade (relative to 2010 levels) and requires all countries to increase their 2030 emissions reduction targets.
- The world has effectively called time on coal. Increasingly, countries are accelerating their shift away from fossil fuels, which will dry up demand for Australian fossil fuel exports.
- Accelerating climate action at home will protect lives and livelihoods, and unlock Australia’s world-leading potential for clean industries and exports.
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