Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Emissions Reduction Targets

News that our electricity sector carbon greenhouse gas emissions are again on the rise underline that this problem is not going to take care of itself, and that we need to adopt serious and scientifically based emission reduction targets to take to the Paris Climate Change Conference later this year.

I support the recommendations of the Climate Change Authority, which proposes that we reduce our emissions below 2000 levels by 30 per cent by 2025 and by 40 to 60 per cent by 2030. Authority Chairman Bernie Fraser says such a target would constitute a credible package to take to the Paris Conference.

For over 5 years I have advocated that we should have stabilised our emissions in 2010 and cut them by 2 per cent each year, that is 20 per cent each decade, after that. This would have given us a 20 per cent cut by 2020, a 40 per cent cut by 2030, a 60 per cent cut by 2040, an 80 per cent cut by 2050, and a completely decarbonised economy by 2060.

The Climate Change Authority proposals are entirely consistent with that timetable. It also fits well with the action being taken by other countries – for example Canada has said it will aim to reduce its emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, Japan has proposed a 2030 cut of 26 per cent below 2013 levels, and the United States is proposing a 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

We will obviously need to transition to renewable energy big time to achieve this, and the Federal Government's undermining of the renewable energy industry has been most unhelpful. But hopefully that has now stopped. And the news about renewable energy technology is encouraging – for example the developments in battery storage which will enable people to use their solar panels to power electric vehicles, or to use their solar power at all times of the day and night.



  1. It's great to see someone from the ALP taking a stand on targets. Abbott's appalling record on climate needs to be countered by a credible alternative plan. Sadly though, what is needed now is nothing less than an emergency speed transition. Do you realise that the CCA targets are based on only a 66% chance of staying under two degrees of warming? And that if we wanted a 90% chance or remaining carbon budget would be zero? Also that climate change is already dangerous at less than one degree of warming?

  2. Well done Kelvin on committing to CCA targets! Make you take your Labor colleagues with you.