CCA shows 5 per cent reduction target is inadequate and economically reckless Media Release

Feb 27, 2014 - 11:28am

Today’s report from the independent Climate Change Authority (CCA) should shatter the wilful blindness amongst political and business leaders that the current minimum 5 per cent 2020 reduction target is adequate or economically responsible, The Climate Institute said.

“For too long our public debate on climate change has focused on pollution reduction goals that are inadequate and economically risky as well as internationally ignorant and unfair, said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“The Authority’s recommended carbon budgets and emission targets should shatter acceptance of the chronically short-sighted 5 per cent 2020 reduction target.”

“Under international agreements, the Government remains committed to bipartisan targets to cut carbon pollution by up to a quarter by 2020, and to advance a new post-2020 emission target by April next year.”


Should the Government stick with the minimum 5 per cent pollution reduction target, it would be ignoring all credible independent advice that suggests this target is scientifically inadequate, economically risky and out of whack with the actions of the USA and other major emitters.

The Authority, chaired by former Reserve Bank Governor Bernie Fraser and with a Board including former industrialists and active climate scientists, released its final report today as required under the Clean Energy Act 2011. It recommended an effective 19 per cent 2020 and 40 – 60 per cent 2030 emission reduction targets, along with a 2050 10 billion tonne carbon pollution budget. The Act requires the Government to declare, by end of May 2014, pollution reduction caps for five years after 1 July 2015.

“Should the Government stick with the minimum 5 per cent pollution reduction target, it would be ignoring all credible independent advice that suggests this target is scientifically inadequate, economically risky and out of whack with the actions of the USA and other major emitters.”

“By recommending 2030 goals and clearly embedding our nation’s commitments in a long-term carbon budget, the CCA has clearly linked our short-term emission reductions with our longer-term interests giving business clear investment signals on the direction of policy.”

“A plan that ends in 2020 ends at the beginning. The Authority’s report and climate action elsewhere highlight that deep and significant reductions will continue to be required long after 2020.”

“Writing in The Australian today, the Business Council of Australia typified the habitual short-sightedness of some vested interests in the current climate debate.”

“The BCA and the mining industry want to end current requirements on our largest emitters to take responsibility for their pollution. They have not put forward an alternative credible policy to reduce pollution or cope with climate impacts, which our best scientists say are beyond the ability of major sectors of the economy to cope with.”

“Not ensuring that major emitters play their part in reducing national pollution levels means taxpayers must shoulder the investment in reducing emissions. Under Government proposals, this would see growing multi-billion costs to the Federal budget and growing pollution levels.”

“The Climate Institute notes that in some aspects of its report the Climate Change Authority should have been more ambitious. To achieve our national interest goal of helping avoid a 2oC increase in global temperature a more ambitious 2020 target of 25 per cent reductions and national carbon budget consistent with a high chance of avoiding dangerous climate change would further reduce the economic risks of delaying credible climate change action,” Connor said.    

For more information    
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
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