Australia wins at not honouring 1.5C climate commitment.

December 12, 2020 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

Australia wins not honouring the 1.5C commitment Fossil award

Australia took out an international award on the eve of the Climate Ambition international conference. But it is not an award to celebrate.

Australia was handed the international ‘Fossil Award’ for failing to honour our climate commitments under the Paris Accord. Five years ago Australia signed the Paris Agreement at the UN climate talks known as COP21. Australia even agreed to 1.5 degrees target inclusion in the Draft climate agreement.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not invited to speak at the Climate Ambition conference as Australia has not provided ambition necessary to earn that right. Australia has:

  • Refused to set a 2050 net zero emissions target.
  • Refused to increase ambition on our 2030 target
  • Left the Green Climate Fund with climate finance coming from a shrinking Foreign Aid budget

Morrison thought that saying Australia may not need to use Kyoto carryover credits for Australia’s low 2030 target might be sufficient to get a talking spot, but all other countries with credits have chosen to cancel them. It is immoral and likely not even legal to use these credits.

Let’s get this straight. If every country adopted Australia’s low climate targets, the world would be tracking at 3-4 degrees warming by 2100. Our 2030 fair share targets are closer to double the 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels.

In the five years since countries around the world agreed to keep global temperature increases to 1.5° Celsius through the Paris Agreement, Australia has done next to nothing to honour its commitments. As a result, Australia was nominated for all four categories of the Climate Fossil Award alongside the likes of USA, Russia and Brazil.

Australia was nominated for Paris Anniversary Fossil Awards in each of Climate Action Network International’s four categories:

Not honouring the commitment under the Paris Accord to keep global temperatures below 1.5° Celsius
Not providing Climate Finance to climate vulnerable countries
Not protecting its people from climate impacts
Not listening to its citizens and shrinking the civic space for protest.

Australia won the award for the category for not honouring the commitment under the Paris Accord to keep global temperatures below 1.5° Celsius.

The Trump Administration in the USA was the overall winner of the Colossal Fossil of Five Years to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement. USA also won a second Fossil Award for Not Providing Finance and Support. Brazil won two Fossil Awards for Not Protecting People from Climate Impacts and Not Listening to the People and Shrinking Civic Space. Special mention was made for Russia.

USA wins 5 year Colossal Fossil award


Australia: Fossil for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment

Australia Fossil Award – Not Honouring 1.5C commitment

“Before Scott Morrison became Australian Prime Minister, he once brandished a lump of coal in parliament. That was in 2017, when he accused his opponents of having a “pathological fear of coal”. A few short years later, the only pathological behaviour remains his government’s ongoing infatuation with fossil fuels when the rest of the world has moved on. As the largest exporter of coal and gas, Australia’s federal government has done virtually nothing over the past five years to tackle the climate emergency. The government’s woefully inadequate 2030 Paris Agreement target is in line with a catastrophic 3°C rise. And it has tried to cheat by using carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet around half of it. The Australian government has refused to set a national long term target (net zero by 2050)despite every State and Territory of Australia having now set a long term net zero climate target. Australia’s current emission reduction trend will reach net-zero in 300 years! And to top it all, Australia has withdrawn funding entirely from the Green Climate Fund.

“The world watched swathes of Australia’s bush burn last summer contributing to significant biodiversity loss and impacting the most vulnerable people. Besides stinking up the planet, Australia appears to be reneging on acommitment to net zero emissions made to Pacific Island Neighbours in October 2019. How does Australia face its Pacific Island neighbours, many of whom will be displaced in the next two-to-three decades unless we scale up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C?  Australia must get sensible fast otherwise the Morrsion government is staring at a dark legacy of climate inaction. Will future generations have to view plastic replicas of the Great Barrier Reef in a museum of climate horrors alongside stuffed mounts of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum?”


As global leaders head into the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit on December 12th, convened by the United Kingdom and France, Australia is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Racing to the bottom on all four qualifying criteria, Australia has received one of Climate Action Network International’s (CANi) “Fossil Awards” on the five-year anniversary of the Paris Accord.

Where other countries like the UK are challenging each other to set higher Nationally Determined Contributions (ie, plans to meet emissions reduction targets), the Morrison Government has declared its intention to do no such thing. Indeed, the intention was to use so-called “carry-over credits” from the Kyoto Protocol, widely regarded as ‘cheating’ and having no legal basis. Under pressure domestically and internationally, the Morrison government has flagged that it will finally step back from using so-called ‘carry-over credits’ but continues to be a global laggard in every other way.

Australia’s current 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution – or 26-28% target – under the Paris Agreement is in line with well over 3 degrees of warming and is immorally low. By way of comparison the UK has recently announced a new plan and target to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030. Other governments are expected to announce ambitious targets and plans at the Climate Action Summit.

Despite agreeing to jointly mobilise $100 billion of climate finance, including into the Green Climate Fund, as part of the Paris Agreement, Australia has withdrawn funding entirely from the UN Green Climate Fund in recent years.

The award also points to the Morrison Government’s refusal to set a net zero emissions target by 2050 despite widespread support for this commitment across states, territories and all major sectors of the economy. On current policy settings, Australia’s emission reduction trend will reach net zero in 300 years. It must also be noted that Australia appears to be reneging on a commitment to net zero emissions made to Pacific Island Neighbours during the Pacific Islands Forum in October 2019.

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic the government has adopted a gas-led economic recovery as outlined in this Prime Minister statement. It comes amidst analysis from numerous experts that point to the dangers of fossil gas including past underestimates of leakage of dangerous methane during fossil gas extraction and to the clear need to invest in clean energy and climate friendly jobs.

While Australia has warmed on average by around 1.44°C since national records began in 1910, it is clear from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements that preparedness has not kept pace.

In August 2017 the Australian Federal Government announced Australia will adopt an emissions reduction target of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Three months after 195 countries, including Australia, signed the Paris Climate Agreement the Australian Government announces $15 million funding for oil, gas, coal and uranium centres. The Federal government repeatedly releases quarterly emissions data many months late and when the public are focused on holidays. More details on Australia’s climate inaction can be found pp 5-6 of the Climate Cuts, Cover-ups and Censorship Report by the Climate Council.

Student Manjot Kaur accepts Fossil Award

Fossil of the Day Award certificate

Watch the whole ceremony (50 minutes)



Climate Action Network Press Release: 2020 Fossil of the 5-Years | Special Paris Agreement 5-Year Anniversary Edition

Entry filed under: news, UNFCCC. Tags: , , .

Time for a Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty Brunswick MP Tim Read raises slow state government climate action in Grievance Debate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Petition Dan Andrews on Climate Emergency

Sign the petition to Premier Dan Andrews to declare an Ecological and climate emergency declaration

What Lies Beneath

Read David Spratt’s What Lies beneath:
Spratt-What Lies beneath-cover

Elephant in the Sky

New report on Aviation emissions and Australia, The Elephant in the Sky:

Climate Reality Check

Read David Spratt's Climate Reality Check:

Dubai, United Arab Emirites, COP28

UNFCCC climate conferenceNovember 30, 2023
6 months to go.

This is the current C02 in our atmosphere. We need to get it below 350 for a safe climate.

Current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere


Visitors to this site

%d bloggers like this: