Posts tagged ‘Paris UNFCCC climate negotiations’

Climate Action Moreland advocates strong science based post 2020 climate targets

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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.

From David Spratt (2015) Recount. Time to do the Math Again

From David Spratt (2015) Recount. 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:

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April 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm 3 comments


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