US-China emission targets spotlight Australia's lack of ambition and action on climate change Media Release

Nov 12, 2014 - 4:27pm

The United States and China have announced their post-2020 emissions reduction targets, eclipsing Australian efforts and adding further pressure to the government to come up with credible climate policy, said The Climate Institute.

“The US has now said that it will cut emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. China has pledged to peak emissions around 2030, though it will be aiming to achieve this sooner,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute.

“This is significant and comes on the back of the European Union earlier this month announcing that it will cut carbon pollution by at least 40 per cent and boost renewable energy to 27 per cent of total energy use – this works out to more than 40 per cent of European electricity coming from renewables.”

“In stark contrast, our own government wants to stop Australian renewables from growing above 20 per cent of our electricity. And it’s not clear that with the current policy framework around climate, the Emissions Reduction Fund, we can even achieve the basic, low 5 per cent cut on 2020 levels.”

Just this week The Climate Institute called for the government to put forth an independent, transparent domestic process to define Australia’s post-2020 targets. This process should be announced in the lead up to the Lima climate talks, which Jackson is attending between Nov 30 and Dec 12.

The Climate Institute analysis concluded that Australia needs a net 2025 emissions reduction target of 40 per cent below 2000 levels and decarbonisation of the economy from 2040 if there are further delays.

“The targets announced by China and the US today, and the EU’s announcement earlier, underscore yet again how much the rest of the world is leaping ahead, while Australia keeps sliding backwards.”

“These targets are significant. They could be more ambitious, but China, the US, and the EU have left the door open to build further ambition as negotiations towards the next international treaty, to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year, move forward.”

If Australia were to try and match what the US is looking to do, for instance, it would mean about a 30 per cent reduction by 2025.

“Australia needs an independent, transparent and scientifically-based process to definite its own 2020 targets. Ultimately these targets need to be aligned with global efforts to avoid a 2C increase in average global temperature.”

For more information  
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299

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