Climate Change Authority targets: “bare minimum” for climate and competitiveness tests Media Release

Jul 02, 2015 - 1:45pm

The Climate Change Authority’s (CCA) final recommendations on what Australia’s 2025 and 2030 pollution reduction targets should be represent the bare minimum, at best, of what is in our nation’s climate and competitiveness interests, The Climate Institute said today.

“We are disappointed that the CCA didn’t strengthen its draft pollution reduction targets. As they are, the suggested targets may not be enough to help achieve the internationally agreed goal of avoiding 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

The CCA’s final recommendations released today call for reductions below 2000 emissions of 30 per cent by 2025, and 40-60 per cent by 2030 (36 and 45 to 65 per cent below 2005 levels respectively). This relies on a carbon budget with a 66 per cent chance of avoiding 2°C warming.

The Climate Institute has recommended emissions reductions of 40 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent by 2030 (45 and 65 per cent below 2005 levels). This is based on at least a 75 per cent likelihood of avoiding 2°C warming.

“What is important in this report is the explicit recognition that policy design will drive the economic effects of such targets more than the targets themselves, as well as a focus on Australia’s carbon competitiveness and the benefits of action under the targets they suggest.”

“Most importantly the CCA highlights the folly of using Canada as a relevant benchmark in a world increasingly focused on a zero carbon global economy.”

Connor added: “However the CCA targets would still leave the emissions intensity of Australia’s economy behind the US and others, still trailing in what is an accelerating race for carbon competitiveness.”

“These targets should be considered the bare minimum, at best, when it comes to climate credibility as well as Australia’s carbon competitiveness.”

“In addition, the global economic focus is increasingly looking at a big round number, zero, when it comes to emissions if the climate goal of avoiding 2°C matters.”

The importance of zero emissions or below has been recently recognised by the G7 and, earlier this week, by the Australian Climate Roundtable an alliance of business, investor and community groups including The Climate Institute.

“When the government makes its initial post-2020 targets offer in coming weeks, in our view it should choose stronger targets than that recommended by the CCA but also have a clear plan for full decarbonisation of the Australian economy by 2050.”

“You can’t have a plan for the future, a plan for climate, without a plan for decarbonisation.”

“The CCA is an important and independent part of Australia’s climate policy architecture and reports such as these elevate the quality of an often too toxic debate, but this doesn’t mean that we will always agree with its final recommendations,” concluded Connor

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Kristina Stefanova | Strategic Partnerships & Communications Director | 02 8239 6299

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