What you need to know from Australia’s first-ever annual Climate Change Statement

02.12.22 By
This article is more than one year old

First off, what is all of this? 

As part of the current Federal Government’s election commitments, this year the Climate Change Authority was reinstated. This Authority is responsible for providing independent advice to the Government on climate change policy. The Climate Change Authority’s First Annual Progress Report was submitted to the Federal Government in November, and has now been made public. 

The first Annual Climate Change Statement is the Government’s public response to this report. 

Ok, so what does it say? 

Well, quite a lot – it’s an 80 page document! 

To summarise: Australia has turned a welcome corner in national climate and energy policy, but we have a mammoth task ahead with the stakes higher than ever. 

Specifically, the documents tabled in the Australian Parliament show: 

The statement sends a stark warning that climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, is accelerating with severe consequences already being felt by Australians here and now.

Experts agree that the world is still barrelling towards climate catastrophe, and all countries need to do much more – more quickly – to cut emissions this decade. The Climate Council recommends Australia aim for a 75% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and reach net zero shortly after.      

“The government must now deliver the strongest version of its commitments and go further to protect Australians from harmful climate change. That means turning the Safeguard Mechanism into a strong tool for cutting industrial emissions and accelerating our energy transition to a grid powered by clean wind and solar. Australia must also put in place fuel efficiency standards to clean up our car fleet, and start the phase-down of coal and gas. These actions can drive Australia’s emissions down by far more than 43% during this crucial decade for action.”     

Climate Council Head of Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner