Cop28: Australia to bring evidence it can meet 2030 climate target but pressure builds over fossil fuels | Climate crisis #Cop28 #Australia #bring #evidence #meet #climate #target #pressure #builds #fossil #fuels #Climate #crisis

The Albanese government will head to a major UN climate summit in Dubai furnishing new evidence that Australia is on track to meet its 2030 emissions target, but facing calls that it must do more to limit the country’s fossil fuel exports.

A snapshot of an upcoming emissions projections report released by the climate change minister, Chris Bowen, suggests Australia will likely cut its CO2 pollution to 42% below 2005 levels by 2030 – nearly in line with the government’s 43% reduction target.

The projections are based on an assessment of introduced and announced policies, including a revamped safeguard mechanism applied to industrial emissions, an expanded underwriting scheme to help reach 82% renewable energy and a still-in-development electric vehicle strategy.

A year ago the same analysis suggested the country was headed for a 40% cut. The improving position is likely to fuel arguments that the government could increase its 2030 target, and set a substantially more ambitious goal for 2035 next year.

Scientists say wealthy countries such as Australia should be cutting emissions by at least 50%, and up to 75%, by 2030 to play their part in meeting the goals of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

Bowen said the government was “getting on with the job, reducing emissions and reaping the economic opportunities of the clean energy transformation”.

“The latest emissions projections show what we’ve always said – our 43% target is ambitious but achievable,” he said in a statement.

The full emissions projections will be published this week as Bowen makes an annual climate change statement to parliament and releases an assessment by the Climate Change Authority of Australia’s progress before travelling to the Cop28 summit in the United Arab Emirates.

The government will also release emissions data for the year to June, covering its first full year in office. It is expected to show pollution increased last financial year, in part due to transport pollution rebounding after Covid-related restrictions and rising agricultural activity.

The most recent emissions inventory, for the year to March, said Australia’s emissions were 24.4% below 2005 levels. That drop was nearly entirely due to a reduction in agricultural land-clearing and native forest logging, mostly for reasons not related to climate policy. Emissions from fossil fuels and other polluting parts of the economy were down only fractionally – 0.9% – since 2005.

In a quirk of international climate accounting, the emissions projections report will suggest Australia is on track to meet its climate pledge for 2030 outright despite it not quite being on track to hit the 43% target. The international commitment is based on an “emissions budget” between 2021 and 2030, not just the level of pollution in the final year. It projects Australia can beat its budget of 4,353m tonnes of CO2 by 31m tonnes.

New fossil fuel projects continue

Australia’s emissions projections have improved despite the federal and state governments supporting new and expanded fossil fuel developments, mostly to export coal and gas to Asia.

An analysis commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) suggested total emissions resulting from fossil fuel export projects up for approval under the Albanese government could be significantly greater than the emissions reduction within Australia by 2030.

It said 10 projects that had been approved or partly approved since the May 2022 election could result in lifetime emissions of up to 2.6bn tonnes if they were developed in full.

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ACF’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the government argued it was not responsible for emissions when Australian coal was burned overseas, but its decisions were fuelling global heating. She said it would not be credible on the climate crisis while that continued.

“The Albanese government is taking genuine steps to reduce carbon emissions at home, while enabling the increased and indefinite export of coal and gas to other countries,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter where the coal and gas is burnt. Australian fossil fuels are supercharging climate damage, fuelling heatwaves, bushfires and coral bleaching.”

Climate protesters this weekend targeted coal exports from Newcastle – the world’s largest coal port – in what organisers said they hoped would be the country’s biggest civil disobedience action. Hundreds of paddlers on kayaks, surfboards and small boats, including the Greens leader Adam Bandt, blockaded the port on Saturday.

Scientists say this year will be the hottest on record. Temperature records have been shattered by unprecedented margins and heatwaves, floods and droughts consistent with scientific warnings have taken lives and hit livelihoods across the globe.

The UN last week warned the world was headed for a “hellish” 3C of global heating this century unless action escalated rapidly.

In a speech last week to the Lowy Institute, Bowen noted the International Energy Agency had found global demand for coal, oil and gas were likely to peak this decade due to “growing momentum behind clean energy technologies and structural economic shifts”. He said Australia would argue at Cop28 for “stronger mitigation language” and support a tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

#Cop28 #Australia #bring #evidence #meet #climate #target #pressure #builds #fossil #fuels #Climate #crisis

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