Thursday, August 13, 2015

Government Ignores Climate Change Authority on Greenhouse Emissions

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.

The Climate Change Authority recommended that we get 15 per cent below our 2000 level by 2020, 30 per cent by 2025, and 40 to 60 per cent below our 2000 level by 2030. Our 2000 level was 560.78 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e). Therefore the Climate Change Authority has recommended that we get to 476.66 Mt CO2-e by 2020 and at least 336.47 Mt CO2-e by 2030. So we need to get well under 350 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2030.

But the 26 per cent below 2005 levels which the government says is acceptable is a 26 per cent reduction on 611.93 Mt CO2-e, the 2005 figure, that is 452.82 Mt CO2-e. So by 2030 instead of being under 350 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, we would be over 450 million tonnes!

The Climate Change Authority worked out its recommendations taking into account the agreement by all countries, including Australia, that we need to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius, and working out an Australian carbon budget which tried to make things fair both between us and future generations, and between Australia and other countries.

The bottom line is that 450 million tonnes is not fair between us and future generations, is not fair between Australia and the rest of the world and will not be accepted as fair, and that it will not stop global temperatures rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius, which climate scientists have made clear will usher in an era of chaotic and uncertain weather for the planet. The recommendations of the Climate Change Authority deserve more respect.

1 comment:

  1. The only way for the Coalition government to bulldoze ahead into the future with the "business as usual" model of perpetual economic and population growth is to release policy makers and corporations from restrictions of the "green tape" of environmental protect, and action against climate change! The mantra of "jobs" and 'growth" is ad odds with our present environmental and, biodiversity, protection laws. It means dismantling EBPC Act, and any recognition of climate change. It's a wrecking ball of any responsibility for the climate and well-being of future generations who should inherit a country as in as good, or better, condition than we leave it.