Climate Change Authority says Australia must get tougher on emissions targets

Clare Saxon Ghauri
30 October 2013

LONDON: Australia’s Climate Change Authority says that the country’s 5% emissions reduction target is ‘inadequate’ and must be increased if Australia is to keep up with other countries' climate action leadership.

The independent body released a draft report which says Australia’s 5% target to lower greenhouse emissions is ‘not a credible option’, recommending the target be raised to 15 or 25% based on its assessments.

Both the current Coalition and previous Labor governments had committed to the same target range of 5-25% in order to reduce emissions by 2020, but the Coalition’s Direct Action plan aims to meet the 5% minimum only.

The Direct Action plan, which has been criticized by Australia’s leading economists, is the Coalition’s alternative emissions reduction plan which relies on carbon sequestration and funding industry through taxpayer initiatives.

Authors write that the ‘inadequate’ target will hinder Australia’s climate leadership: “Evidence is also mounting that several other countries Australia is often compared with are gearing up to reduce their emissions more aggressively by 2020. A 5% target would leave Australia lagging behind others, including the United States.”

The Review further makes the case for tougher targets by highlighting that over the past two decades, Australia achieved ‘solid’ economic growth while halving its emissions intensity.

Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group: “There is a powerful twofold message in the Climate Change Authority’s timely report: firstly, that Australia is putting at risk its international reputation if it fails to move in step with its major trading partners on climate action. And secondly, that bold action is not a burden to be avoided, but actually a huge opportunity for sustainable economic growth. Acting on the Authority's prudent and expert advice is in Australia’s economic, political and environmental interests.”

Read the Climate Change Authority's draft report

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By Clare Saxon

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