The Climate Institute welcomes ALP’s stronger, more credible pollution reduction commitments Media Release

Nov 27, 2015 - 9:09am

The ALP’s stronger and more credible carbon pollution reduction commitments were welcomed by The Climate Institute today.

“The ALP’s stronger pollution reduction commitments could enable Australia to really help achieve the internationally agreed and bipartisan goal of avoiding 2°C warming, and would better align Australia with the actions of leading developed economies,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“At the moment, the government’s target does neither.”

The ALP committed today to pollution reduction targets of at least 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. The 2030 goal is to be reviewed by March. The ALP have also committed in government to five-yearly reviews and the establishment of a 2025 goal within 12 months.

“Earlier this week, we welcomed Minister Hunt’s recognition that avoiding 2°C means net zero emissions, but the ALP have gone a crucial step further by setting a 2050 deadline to end climate pollution.”

The government is yet to set a longer-term target than its initial 2030 target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels, an annual reduction of 1.6 per cent per year. Continued till 2050, this means Australia would emit an extra 4.5 billion tonnes of pollution than it would under the ALP’s targets.

“This 4.5 billion tonne improvement equates to more than 20 years of pollution from the nation's power sector. It would take Australia three-quarters of the way towards the climate action required,” Connor said.

“Even under the ALP's targets, Australia would still be 1.5 billion tonnes away from doing its bit towards the global below-2°C goal, but it is a significant improvement on the government's proposed targets. The government's targets are more aligned to global action that would allow 3-4°C warming.”

“The remaining gap between the ALP’s initial 2030 target and 2°C reinforces the importance of the independent reviews that the ALP have announced to set a 2025 emissions target and to update the 2030 target.”

The government's target leaves Australia in 2030 at the back of the pack compared to other developed countries. By 2030 Australia would still have the highest per capita emissions and emissions intensity of any developed country (see Figure 2).

The ALP’s commitment is more in line with the overall level of pollution reductions of the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Norway. The per capita and emissions intensity of the economy levels implied by the ALP’s target would see Australia start to catch up to the levels implied by the targets of the USA.

“The world’s leading scientists, financial institutions and nations now recognise that avoiding 2°C warming means growing zero carbon economies. The race to avoid the costs of climate change is also a race to grab the opportunities of this transition,” said Connor.

"Whatever pollution goals the major parties announce, these will only be delivered - and the necessary investment unlocked - with a scalable, durable and well-designed toolbox of policies, especially to modernise and decarbonise the energy sector.”

“Minimising the climate costs and maximising the economic benefits of avoiding dangerous warming is in Australia’s economic, social and environmental interest. We welcome this announcement of stronger and more credible targets and call on both the government and the ALP to raise climate actions and ambitions in coming months.”

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Brinsley Marlay | Media Manager | 02 8239 6299
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