Reducing the horizons of uncertainty: Setting Australia’s post-2030 emission goal Policy brief

May 04, 2017 - 11:00pm

As part of its 2017 climate change policy review, the Australian Government has committed to consider a post-2030 emissions target. Under the Paris Agreement, to which Australia is a signatory, countries have committed to achieve net zero emissions. As part of the Agreement countries are expected to develop emissions reduction strategies extending to 2050, and report these plans by 2020 at the latest.

This policy brief outlines the role that long-term targets play in setting government policy and guiding business strategies. It also considers the 2050 emissions goals already announced by other countries and the commitments the Australian government has made to contribute to limiting warming to 1.5-2°C under the Paris Agreement. Together, these mechanisms have been used to guide recommendations of possible next steps for Australia.

Summary recommendations

• Set a 2050 target: As an outcome of the 2017 climate change policy review, defining a 2050 emissions target (or target range) for Australia will provide guidance for business, government and regulatory decisions.

• Define a process for mid-century strategy: The review outcomes should establish a process to define detailed sectoral strategies to achieve this target. 

• Submit a mid-century strategy in 2018: In line with  the processes under the Paris Agreement, this midcentury  strategy to achieve net zero emissions should  be submitted to the UNFCCC before the end of 2018.

• Review target periodically from 2022: Develop a considered five yearly review process that aligns to the development of Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement.

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