Australia puts itself in the cross hairs at climate talks Media Release

Jun 04, 2015 - 8:03pm

At the latest round of climate talks in Bonn today, the Australian Government brought pressure on itself by failing to be truly open about its actions on climate change, The Climate Institute said today.

“The international community came to Bonn looking for Australia to show how it was joining other nations in modernising the global economy and reducing pollution,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute.

“Disappointing responses to questions from other countries on the domestic policy framework fudged the fact that the government has significantly wound back renewable energy investment, and inflated the impact of its actions to 2020 without providing any estimate of the pollution reductions it will deliver.”

Australia was asked by China and South Africa whether it is fair for us to do less than other developed countries. The USA, Brazil and many other countries questioned how Australia's policies would meet its stated domestic climate targets so governments could work together on how the world can be kept below 2ºC global warming - a goal the more than 190 countries in the process including Australia have agreed.

“Australia failed to clarify why it should do less than other countries like the USA and why it is not currently focused on increasing its currently inadequate 2020 pollution targets in line with the actions of other countries.”

“Australia’s lack of ambition and transparency on its domestic policies will only focus greater attention on the government’s targets and policies as other countries push for further answers and actions from the government.”

“Transparency and accountability are key trust builders between governments. Without these ingredients climate negotiations are made much more difficult. By not doing what it is saying others should do, the government is undermining its case for even greater accountability on national actions as part of the Paris outcome at the end of the year.”

“Part of a positive outcome in Paris will be an agreement that all nations - developed and developing - are transparent and clear on their actions. Australia risks failing the first hurdle.”

This Bonn meeting is the next step towards the Paris climate meeting in December, which aims to deliver the world’s next agreement for reducing pollution. It will be the first universal agreement which requires targets from all countries to act on global warming.

“The next stage of international scrutiny of for Australia is just around the corner. The government will announce its post-2020 pollution reduction target in July.”

The end of year Paris meeting aims to forge an agreement which creates an expectation that all countries will ratchet up action to limit global warming to less than 2°C. National progress toward this goal will be scrutinised internationally and transparency is central to building trust and accountability.

“Australia has agreed that when it announces its new post-2020 emission targets the government will show the international community how it is a fair contribution to avoiding the 2ºC increase in global temperature.”

“This will be the key benchmark for the new target and test if the government can look beyond a future where our nation remains dependent on outdated polluting technologies," said Jackson.
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