Posts tagged ‘climate targets’
Update 16 May: climate change a vote changer
Polling done by Essential vision shows that most people approve the higher climate targets and the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme in Labor’s climate plan. The polling was published on May 3 and supports previous polling in March that a majority of Australians want greater action on climate change.
The survey found that 57 per cent of voting age people approved of the Labor Party’s higher climate targets that more closely match the science and carbon emissions policy. Just 21 per cent disapproved of these targets and implementation of an ETS.
Kelvin Thomson, Moreland’s Federal MP for the seat of Wills in the House of Representatives, rebuked the Abbott Government for the low climate targets that were announced on 11 August 2015.
Kelvin wrote on his blog on 13 August:
The Liberal Government’s announcement that it plans to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 falls a long way short of what is needed to effectively tackle extreme weather events.
Its claim to be comparable with the United States is utterly misleading. The US plan is indeed for 26-28 per cent reductions, but by 2025, not 2030. How on earth can we claim to be going as fast as the United States when it will take us 5 years longer to get there?
Moreover the Liberal target is way short of the recommendation of Australia’s Climate Change Authority. The Climate Change Authority was charged with taking into account not only climate science and current and future climate change impacts, it was also tasked with examining what other countries are doing, and the economic and social impacts of climate action. Its investigation was comprehensive and its recommendations deserve to be treated with the utmost seriousness.
Read more at Kelvin Thomson’s blog.
Reposted from John Englart’s climate blog with some updates:
Australia’s post 2020 climate targets were approved in cabinet last night ahead of a Liberal and National Party room caucus meeting today. The post 2020 climate targets were announced at a press conference (See transcript and media release) today and amount to 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.
In comparison, the Climate Change Authority which has investigated both the science and comparative international action, called for a 40 to 60 per cent cut on 2000 levels by 2030. Other reputable organisations have also called for higher targets. The Australian Academy of Science called for emissions cuts of 30 to 40 per cent for the same period. The independent Climate Institute urged a 45 per cent cut on 2005 levels by 2025.
Climate Action Moreland submission to the Climate change Taskforce was that Australia should shift our 2020 target from 5 per cent on 2000 levels to 25 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. This then would place Australian climate action in accord with what the best scientific advice demands as our fair share. For 2025 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Norway has already committed to this target. For 2030 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Switzerland has already committed to this target. Australia is responsible for about 1.5 per cent of global emissions at 18.3 tonnes per capita, but our export coal accounts for another 3.3 per cent of global emissions. Export LNG would also increase global emissions.
— John Englart EAM (@takvera) August 12, 2015
“The initial target offer ahead of the Paris climate negotiations in December is a core test of the government’s climate and economic credibility,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute in a media statement. “This target fails tests both of scientific credibility and economic responsibility in a world increasingly focused on modernising and cleaning up energy as well as economic systems. This target is bad for the climate and bad for our international competitiveness.”
During the press conference Tony Abbott outlined that protecting the coal industry was more important than protecting the environment: “Our policy doesn’t depend upon the demise of coal. In fact, the only way to protect the coal industry is to go with the sorts of policies that we have. That’s why I think our policies are not only good for the environment but very good for jobs.” he said.
In a recent public opinion poll 50 per cent of respondents wanted renewables favoured over coal and only 6 per cent favoured support for the coal industry over renewables.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, to a question whether Australia is still committed to keeping temperature rises below two degrees? how Australia’s target fits in with that goal which we agreed to in Cancun in 2010, responded by evading and not answering the question.
“The Paris meeting is about getting a global agreement where every country puts forward their targets in advance of the meeting and then there will be a discussion about the framework action that would be required in order to meet the two degree goal.” she replied.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt outlined how the Government would achieve these targets without a carbon price. They will continue using the Emissions Reduction Fund with the addition of the safeguards mechanism. Other measures include developing vehicle efficiency standards, implementing ozone and fluoro carbon measures as part of the next round of the Montreal Protocol, and develeopments in technological change such as in battery storage technologies.
When asked if other abatement measures would leave room for lifting the Renewable energy target, Prime Minister Abbott responded, “It doesn’t depend upon a higher Renewable Energy Target. It assumes the target that is now in place, which is effectively a 23 per cent target.”
Climate Action Moreland advocates Australia should go back to the climate science on what we should do in terms of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to take to the Paris UNFCCC climate negotiations in December 2015.
In 2007 Australia formally signed on to the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement negotiated that year, called the ‘Bali Roadmap’, adopted in a footnote the IPCC 4th Assessment report strong greenhouse gas reduction targets for Industrialised countries of 25 to 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2020. We think we should adopt this as a benchmark, that we agreed to in 2007. This would require shifting Australia’s 2020 target from 5 per cent on 2000 levels to 25 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. This then would place Australian climate action in accord with what the best scientific advice demands as our fair share.
For 2025 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Norway has already committed to this target.
For 2030 we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent reduction on 1990 levels. Switzerland has already committed to this target. While Australia is responsible for about 1 per cent of global emissions at 18.3 tonnes per capita, Switzerland by comparison is responsible for 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions with 6.4 tonnes per capita.ii Europe submitted it’s target as 40 per cent reduction in emissions on 1990 levels by 2030.
We should aim to be carbon neutral by 2050, after which Australia should try to be carbon negative through soil carbon farming initiatives, afforestation, development of blue carbon sinks, and technological filtering the air of carbon dioxide. This is in accord with the negotiations that took place at Lima in December 2014, that articulated that “an aim of zero net emissions by 2050”.
Our targets for 2020 and 2025 are higher than the Climate Change Authority over the next decade as they reflect the scientific recommendation for much larger carbon reduction earlier. The Authority put forward in March 2014 that Australia’s 2020 target should be 19 per cent reduction on 2000 levels. In their latest review for post 2020 they argue:
“a 30 per cent reduction by 2025 remains reasonable and achievable even if Australia does not strengthen its 2020 target beyond the minimum 5 per cent reduction. If Australia is able to do more than 5 per cent by 2020, this would allow a more gradual acceleration of effort beyond 2020….a 2030 range of 40 to 60 per cent below 2000 levels, and a long-term emissions budget to 2050. These goals would help Australia make a fair contribution to global climate action to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees.”
The targets by the Climate Change Authority are based on comparable international action, and the belief that we have a carbon budget which we can expend in the transition, and has been advocated as part of the IPCC 5th assessment report. But the global carbon budget does not reflect some of the unknowns such as the permafrost feedback and other possible climate feedback mechanisms that would reduce this budget.
The Climate Action Moreland targets reflect the argument that for a 90 per cent chance of staying under 2 degrees Celsius the global carbon budget is already used up. This is explained in David Spratt’s latest report: Recount. It’s time to do the math again.
Global and Australian decarbonisation by 2050 is feasible.
Higher targets for Australia may not be easy to achieve, but we won’t know until we start.
Work on deep decarbonisation has been done at Monash University and by Climateworks, published 2014, and explained at the Conversation (Australia can get to zero carbon emissions, and grow the economy) to show that:
“Not only can we reach net zero emissions by 2050, this can be achieved without major structural changes to the economy, and minimal impact on Australians’ lifestyles.”
A 2013 report by Ecofys (PDF) investigated whether global carbon neutrality was possible to achieve by mid century and concluded it was technically and physically feasible as long as we rapidly escalate decarbonisation.
In the words of Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Read our full submission to the Australian Government UNFCCC climate targets taskforce as a PDF for downloading: 20150424-CAM-submission-Australia-post-2020-targets or below. Note that the blue headings are directly taken from the White paper issued by Prime Minister and Cabinet which they requested specifically answered. The text below also corrects some spelling and typographical errors discovered after formal submission: