Apr 23, 2013 - 11:30am
The Climate Institute welcomed today the Climate Change Authority’s paper laying out initial thoughts on Australian emission targets and ‘carbon budgets,’ the first step towards a draft report in October this year.
“Australia’s carbon laws cap emissions from our largest emitters from 2015. This is an important opportunity to focus on emissions limits and not just emissions pricing,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute.
“Australia’s fair contribution to avoiding dangerous climate change requires strong 2020 emissions reductions but also even deeper cuts towards 2050. We are pleased to see that the Climate Change Authority will seriously consider stronger 2020 emission targets and emissions budgets for 2030 and 2050.”
“Reducing emissions does not stop in 2020 and a crucial test of any political party’s policy is whether it can achieve up to a 25 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 and a 60 per cent reduction by 2030.”
Australia’s carbon laws and international negotiations are based on avoiding more than 2°C global warming above pre-industrial levels. To have a good chance at this, no more than 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon pollution can be released to 2050.
A recent policy brief by The Climate Institute highlighted that if the average Australian consumes the global budget at the same rate than an average person in other advanced economies, then over the next 40 years Australians can only release 8 billion tonnes of carbon pollution. At current emissions levels, this budget would be consumed in around 15 years.
The Climate Institute’s and others’ analysis suggests that by 2030 Australia will have to reduce emissions by around 60 per cent on 2000 levels.
Jackson said: “A concern with the Climate Change Authority’s paper today is that it perhaps overemphasizes the 80 percent target by 2050. A better focus would be on meeting our national interests and international commitments to avoid more than 2°C of global warming.”
The Climate Institute calculations also highlight that Australia’s current emissions targets are not a fair contribution to global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change.
"A carbon budget based on the bipartisan minimum targets to 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050 would see, on average, Australians emit four times as much as other people globally,” said Jackson.
“Like any budget, the more you spend early on the less you have for later. If targets are set without reference to a long-term and fair national carbon budget, more draconian emissions reductions will be required after 2020 to meet national goals and international commitments.”
For more information
Erwin Jackson | Deputy CEO, The Climate Institute | 03 9600 4039
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299