Submission to: Targets, Pathways and Progress

15.05.24 By

The Climate Council welcomes this opportunity for a further round of input to the Climate Change Authority (CCA)’s development of advice on Australia’s 2035 emissions reduction target. The CCA’s work is a crucial input shaping the speed and scale of climate action in Australia over the coming decade, so it is essential this is informed by a strong focus on what the science tells us is necessary now to avoid the worst impacts of dangerous climate change.

We received the CCA’s issues paper with a mix of encouragement and dismay.

On the one hand, the CCA’s issues paper provides compelling reasons for taking all necessary action to protect Australians from worsening climate harm.

You have rightly acknowledged the dangers facing Australia in a rapidly warming world, recognised that we must strive to limit global warming to 1.5°C, recognised that Australia can play an important role in helping accelerate global action and that our commitments must reflect our obligations under the Paris Agreement and our status as an advanced economy. You also state that the CCA “aims to push the boundaries of what is currently deemed possible” and argue that the right goal can “catalyse transformative action”, creating a “virtuous cycle of learning and improvement”. Further, you correctly observe that an overly conservative target may “fail to adequately address the systemic changes required for success”. These are all points with which we strongly concur, and which are well supported by available evidence.

We are therefore dismayed by the CCA’s preliminary advice that Australia set a target for 2035 of only 65-75% below 2005 levels. This falls well short of the principles and considerations that the CCA has laid out in the issues paper, as well as its mandate under the Climate Change Act 2022.