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, according to a new Climate Council report released today.
The Halfway to Paris: How the World is Tracking on Climate Change report provides the most up to date overview of the international response. It finds the world has substantially stepped up action on climate change, with strong emissions reduction targets from the US, China and the European Union.
“Given Australia is one of the world’s largest coal producers, and the 13th largest contributor to climate change in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the eyes of the world are on Australia right now,” Climate Council Chief Councillor Tim Flannery said.
“This is likely the first time in recent history that Australia has come under such sustained criticism from other countries over its domestic policies. We risk becoming a pariah if we don’t join the rest of the world in doing our fair share to tackle climate change.”
All of the G7 countries except Japan have formally submitted their emissions reduction targets, setting a clear precedent for the world’s major economies,
“It’s clear that countries are taking accelerating action because they see it as being in their national interest,” he said.
The report also found:
- The pace of global action is accelerating with the US, European Union and China stepping up their climate change policies.
- Australia’s domestic climate change policies are receiving more scrutiny than ever before with China, the US and several other major trading partners questioning Australia’s credibility.
- A strong Australian response to climate change requires an emissions reduction target of at least 40-60% on 2000 levels by 2030 (45-65% on 2005 levels).
- Australia is a crucial climate change player as one of the largest emitters per person and the 13th largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world, larger than 182 other nations.
The report also includes a guide for how to assess Australia’s post 2020 targets.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said a strong target was needed to protect Australians from worsening extreme heat, bushfires and sea level rise driven by climate change.
“It’s clear that the transition to the new low-emissions economy has already begun and that while Australia can cut emissions while growing the economy, delaying action will become increasingly costly,” she said.
You can view the full report here.
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