Will Australia Meet Paris Agreement

“Anything below a 50 percent reduction in levels from 2005 to 2030 is the task of the Paris Agreement,” Hewson said. It is not yet on track to meet this goal, although the government plans to correct existing climate policies – including the Emissions Reduction Fund and the Technology Investment Roadmap – could correct this path. In fact, recent emissions projections show that Australia`s greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will be 41 million tonnes higher than in 2005 (excluding unreliable land-use emissions). The Australian government has not initiated a green recovery, but is using the pandemic as a justification to support the expansion of the gas industry. The Prime Minister announced that the government will invest in accelerating the development of gas basins and in government intervention in the energy market by building a state-owned 1 GW gas generation plant, creating confusion and uncertainty for investors. Within days, he was peddling the 1 GW gas generation plant, which led to more confusion and uncertainty. The energy industry is largely opposed to this intervention, focusing on renewable energy and large-scale storage to replace the disused Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales. “Scientists are telling us that this is the crucial decade — this is the decade in which we must make decisions that avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said in the summit`s opening remarks. The German government`s own emissions projections make it clear that Australia is not on track to meet its Paris commitments. The German government does not have a credible climate policy to combat our growing greenhouse gas emissions. Australia`s current commitments under the Paris Agreement (reduction of 26-28% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels) contradict the previous limit of 2°C and even more so with the long-term temperature target of the Paris Agreement. All expert reviews show that Australia`s current policies will not achieve the Paris Agreement`s reductions of 26-28% by 2030. Adopting the minimum path for the electricity sector proposed in the Finkel review would make achieving this objective even less likely, as it would require much faster action to act or have an impact in other sectors that would be more costly and inherently slower.

The gas-led recovery ignores warnings from businesses, industry and environmental organisations to support a green recovery, particularly employment opportunities through accelerated investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The government will change the responsibilities of the crown`s funding and research agencies to be technologically neutral if they are designed to support clean energy. The government also intends to take over investments in fossil fuels and is funding a study on new coal-fired power plants. Government forecasts for 2019 show that Australia is on track to increase coal production from 634 Mt in 2020 to 659 Mt in 2030 and natural gas production from 82 Mt in 2020 to 87 Mt in 2030. In December 2020, for example, the UK raised its 2030 target from 57% to 68% from 1990 levels. Germany has raised its target from 55% to 65% compared to 1990 levels. The United States will now aim for a reduction of 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Government support for the fossil fuel industry is detrimental to a low-carbon future. The prime minister sent mixed messages, initially stating that the government will build a gas-fired power plant if the electricity market does not commit to 1 GW of controllable capacity by April 2021 to replace the Liddell coal-fired power plant, which is expected to close in 2023. There was no evidence that 1 GW of gas was needed when considering new announcements of major battery projects and renewable energy zones.

A few days later, the prime minister retracted that statement, but the mixed messages and the threat of competing with a state-subsidized company are creating uncertainty for investors. The government has appointed an advisory board of the National Covid-19 Commission to provide a business perspective on the economic recovery. The council included stakeholders from fossil fuels and the mining industry. The Commission recommended the adoption of an Australian trans-atlantic gas pipeline and the increase in domestic gas supply and subsidies for gas-fired electricity generation. We expect greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2020 to be 10% to 11% lower than in 2019, with an economic slowdown expected to be 8% to 9%. The two previous lockdown periods in parts of Australia have temporarily reduced road user activity and traffic emissions. In April 2020, oil consumption fell by 12.7% compared to April 2019. Containment measures did not have a significant impact on emissions from the electricity sector during the first wave of the pandemic, as mining and mineral processing continued.

The world remains firmly on track to reach the agreed temperature thresholds. Global greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after decades of steady increase, and are now recovering in 2021. The past decade has been the warmest on record, contributing to more frequent and intense weather events such as floods and droughts. If global emissions do not halve by the end of the decade, scientists warn that it will be impossible to keep average temperatures within the limits of the Paris Agreement. Australia will effectively abandon the Paris Agreement unless it reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and reaches net zero well before 2050, according to an analysis by policymakers and scientists. Using credits to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement would effectively reduce the emission reductions Australia needs to meet its 2030 target. The seven years between 2013 and 2019 were the warmest years Australia has recorded since national records began in 1910. In 2020, a report from the Australian National University rated the country`s overall environmental health at 3 out of 10.

Despite the sad reality, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has long said that Australia will achieve its Goal of the Paris Agreement “at a gallop.” Morrison also claims that Australia has seen a 19% reduction in emissions since 2005. However, climate experts note that Morrison`s claim comes from creative accounting and that a larger drop in emissions is not due to concrete structural changes or a significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption, but to COVID-19 and a sharp decline in land deforestation and forest destruction. Excluding land use, Australia`s carbon footprint has increased by 7% since 2005. Morrison told the United Nations in September 2019 that “Australia will deliver on our Paris commitments,” calling the goals “a credible, equitable, responsible and achievable contribution to global climate action.” The professors, all from Australian universities, argued that the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement were “completely separate treaties.” Therefore, they stated that Kyoto credits could only be used to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement if this was decided and agreed by all parties to the agreement. According to our analysis, Australia needs to take additional steps to meet its 2030 target, even with the expected emission reductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emission reductions are the result of declining economic activity rather than substantial climate policy. Australia`s economic recovery is not “green”, but follows a gas-led recovery and continues to support fossil fuels through a so-called “technology neutral” approach. However, a 2019 United Nations environment report ranked Australia in a group of 20 countries that need “additional measures” to meet its Paris target, alongside Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and the United States. Australia lacks a credible national climate policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, we are not even on track to meet our woefully inadequate emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030. Morrison is now under pressure from his key allies to stand up at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, which will take place in November. .