Nov 04, 2016 - 12:01am
With the Paris Agreement for net zero emissions coming into legal force today, Australia’s lack of progress is increasingly at odds with global momentum, warns The Climate Institute.
Today, the Institute released COP 22 – Getting to Zero, which outlines the issues that countries will address when they meet in Marrakech from November 7-18 to discuss implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Paris meeting in December produced commitments for all countries to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, limit global warming to 1.5-2°C and increase climate resilience. The Marrakech meeting will focus on frameworks for these goals to be realised.
“The Australian government will be in the spotlight in Marrakech and will need to step up efforts to help achieve commitments central to the Paris agreement,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. “We welcome the Foreign Minister and Environment and Energy Minister’s acknowledgment that implementing the Paris Agreement is in our national interest, but more needs to be done.”
“Domestic action hasn’t kept pace with unprecedented global momentum in clean energy and emissions reduction. The 2030 target Australia set itself in August 2015 is not consistent with the Paris objectives. Nor is our emission reduction policy framework. These weaknesses leave Australia exposed.”
“At a minimum Australia needs to ratify the Paris Agreement, release it’s 2030 emission projections and incorporate achieving net zero emissions into domestic policy processes, like COAG energy reviews and the upcoming 2017 climate policy review.”
“In Marrakech, Australia can build on the constructive role it played in Paris. The Paris Agreement’s cycle of increasing ambition starts with a stocktake of collective progress in 2018, so governments urgently need to define rules for transparency and accountability. It’s in Australia’s interest for the rulebook to be robust, so that countries can have confidence in each others’ efforts.”
In the last few months, as well as ratification of the Paris Agreement, countries struck global deals on emissions from international aviation and the super potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning. Major economies such as the US, China, UK and Canada also pressed on with domestic policies to grow clean energy, cut coal generation, and put legal limits and prices on carbon.
In the private sector the world’s largest asset manager called on investors to incorporate climate risks into their portfolios, and the international Financial Stability Board taskforce began developing a framework for climate risk disclosure due to be released in draft-form in December.
“Meanwhile, despite some positive exceptions, the Australian government and Australian businesses have mostly failed to properly integrate the Paris commitment to net zero emissions into policy making and public discussion.”
In August 2015, the Abbott government agreed to the initial 2030 commitment of 26-28 percent reductions below 2005 levels. All independent analysis to-date has show this commitment is not consistent with the objectives of Paris and compares poorly with other major emitters. The Abbott government also committed to other nations that its 2017 review of policies would consider longer term targets post 2030.
“At Marrakech next week countries will be getting to work on getting to zero, Australia needs to join in.”
John Connor will be at the Marrakech talks from November 7 providing regular updates and analysis.
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