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Greens announce new climate targets as modelling shows higher 2030 targets needed to meet Paris goals

Media Release
Adam Bandt 3 Jul 2020

Greens Leader Adam Bandt has released new analysis showing that because pollution has increased so much since the Liberals repealed the carbon price, Australia’s emissions reduction targets would now need to be at least a 48% cut on 2005 levels by 2030 to be consistent with the Paris Agreement aim of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees. So much of the carbon budget has been spent that future governments will need to tighten their carbon belts even further, not relax targets as has been mooted. To limit global warming to the Paris goal of 1.5 degrees, the analysis finds that Australia’s target would have to be a 75% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.

Mr Bandt also announced that the Greens - who agree with Paciifc Island countries that the world should aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees - have adjusted their climate targets to reflect this new analysis, announcing a new policy of 75% cut on 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2035. The endorsement of the new position by the Australian Greens Party Room yesterday comes ahead of the Eden Monaro by-election, where the Greens are urging voters to send a message to the government about the climate crisis.

Following the devastating summer bushfires and reports this week that the Arctic is recording temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius,  these new science-based “Climate Emergency Targets” will underpin Greens campaigning on the climate emergency over the coming months, as the party seeks to put the climate crisis back on the national agenda and pressure the major parties to adopt science-based 2030 targets, with increased climate action being part of the COVID economic recovery.

The analysis underpinning the Greens targets effectively updates the government’s 2014 Climate Change Authority report, which is the last government-backed work to recommend Australia’s climate targets. The analysis takes into account the increased climate pollution that has occurred since that time, during which the Liberals have been in power. The analysis uses the same carbon budget and targets methodology as the Commonwealth Climate Change Authority in its 2014 Targets and Progress Review and in the carbon budget analysis for the recent Victorian Government’s climate targets review, led by one of Australia’s leading climate scientists, the University of Melbourne's Malte Meinshausen. 

This analysis also shows that:
on government emissions projections, the Morrison government’s current low targets - even if fully met without relying on Kyoto carryover credits - will exceed the budget required for the Paris goal of 1.5°C as soon as 2027 and exceed the budget for the Paris goal of 2 degrees as soon as 2032;
there is no room for Liberal or Labor to weaken their respective 26% and 45% by 2030 targets, as 2030 targets must now increase to at least 48% to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 2 degrees goal;
because so much of the 2 degrees carbon budget will have been spent by the Liberals between 2013 and 2022, simply adopting a ‘zero by 2050’ target out from 2022 (the year of the likely next election) is also incompatible with our Paris ‘2 degrees’ budget, blowing it by 1955 MtCO2e.    

Mr Bandt will say the Government’s targets have us on course for climate catastrophe by exceeding 2 degrees, with targets consistent with over 3 degrees of warming. He will also warn Labor against weakening their targets ahead of their December National Conference, as the science now shows any shift down from their current inadequate position of a 45% cut by 2030 on 2005 levels would blow Labor’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement 2 degrees goal.

The Greens new “Climate Emergency Targets”, based on an updated carbon budget analysis of expert scientific advice to the Commonwealth and the Victorian government, require a minimum 75% reduction of CO2e emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and a net-zero target by 2035 at the latest. This is Australia’s “fair share” contribution (as determined by the Climate Change Authority) to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

The 75% cut over the next decade would be enabled by a rapid shift to 100% renewable energy, electrification of buildings, transport and industry, investment in energy efficiency, and extensive forest protection and land restoration, creating hundreds of thousands of post-COVID recovery jobs in the process. The analysis is also reinforced by the recent ClimateWorks report that outlined a comprehensive decarbonisation pathway for the Australian economy, including a 1.5 degree scenario based on reducing emissions by 74% by 2030.

“Since the Liberals repealed the carbon price, pollution has gone up and Scott Morrison is blowing our chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goals," Bandt said.

“The science is clear. The Liberals have spent so much of Australia’s carbon budget that we need to do even more over the next decade, not less.

“The Paris Agreement says we should limit global warming to well below 2 degrees while also fighting to limit heating to 1.5 degrees, which is what our Pacific Island neighbours want. 

“The Liberals have us on track for over 3 degrees of global warming, and by walking away from a stronger 2030 target, Labor looks like giving up on the Paris Agreement as well. 

“Going to the next election with anything less than a 48% cut by 2030 means abandoning the Paris Agreement."

“The only pathway for climate action is to turf the government out, put Greens into balance of power and implement a Green New Deal.”

“The science shows that to stop runaway global warming, Australia needs to cut our pollution by three quarters over the next decade and then get to zero five years after that. It is challenging, but with a Green New Deal we can do it."

“The climate doesn’t care about politics. Liberal and Labor can’t claim to be implementing the Paris Agreement without lifting their 2030 targets significantly."

“As ClimateWorks has shown, we can cut pollution by 75% by 2030 with available technology. It just needs an Australian government to show some leadership to make it happen.”

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