Submission on Australia's Post-2020 Emissions Reduction Target Submission

Apr 27, 2015 - 5:00pm

The Climate Institute welcomes this opportunity to make a submission to the Australian Government on Australia’s post-2020 emission reduction targets.

The scale of Australia’s post-2020 emissions reductions goals will be the key test of the government’s commitment to the internationally agreed goal of avoiding 2°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. It will also have a major influence on the ambition of current and future climate policies. Importantly, the scale of the Australian target will influence the ambition of some of our international peers, and, if weak, will also give emerging economies an excuse to reduce their own ambition.

The Climate Institute is concerned that the Issues Paper on Australia’s post-2020 targets includes no discussion of how Australia’s post-2020 contribution will be justified against our commitment to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C.

To avoid any misunderstandings, the government should make a clear and unambiguous statement of its commitment to contribute to avoiding 2°C warming. Over the years, The Climate Institute has developed a substantial body of work on the issues of setting national targets. Overall, and based on this and external analysis, the Institute has concluded that, to keep within a carbon budget that gives a high chance of avoiding
2°C, Australia should:

  • Make a clear minimum commitment to limit emissions economy-wide to around 40 per cent below 2000 levels by 2025;

  • Lay out an indicative emission pathway to 2035 that would reduce emissions by 65-75 per cent on 2000 levels; and

  • Make a clear commitment to achieve a net zero emissions economy between 2040 and 2050.

Emissions reductions like those recommended in the Climate Change Authority’s draft report are based on just a two out of three chance of avoiding 2°C warming. This strategy is too high a risk given the scale of the climate impacts facing Australia and our region.

Net emissions reductions of the scale recommended by The Climate Institute are achievable, consistent with Australia’s international undertakings, and possible while delivering strong economic growth and prosperity.

Click below for the full document.

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