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Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) silhouetted against the sun. Sipadan Island © Jürgen Freund / WWF

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) silhouetted against the sun. Sipadan Island © Jürgen Freund / WWF

Australia agrees to 1.5 degree goal in Paris, while domestic targets still push 4 degrees

05 Dec 2015

Keywords
  • carbon pollution
  • energy
  • greenhouse gas emission
  • sustainable development goals
  • climate change

At the UNFCCC climate talks in Paris, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has committed Australia to supporting the inclusion of a goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.

The commitment comes despite the Australian government’s own weak targets putting the world on track to warm between 3-4 degrees celsius by the end of the century.


Kellie Caught, National Manager - Climate Change at WWF-Australia, says this is another example of the Australian Government not walking the talk when it comes to action on climate change.

“WWF strongly welcomes the Government's support for the inclusion of a 1.5 degree goal on the Paris text." Ms Caught said.

"This is important moment for Australia’s future, but our current pollution reduction targets are not consistent with this goal.

“If other countries took on similar pollution reduction targets, the world would be on track to warm between 3 to 4 degrees, with devastating impacts on the people and places we love.

“Economic modelling has repeatedly shown that stronger targets both are doable and desirable.”


Draft agreement can further boost global action

Inside the negotiations, the Australian delegation is playing a relatively constructive role facilitating bridging and compromise between parties.

The end of week one of the Paris climate change negotiations culminated with the French taking over the presidency of the negotiations, and the challenging task of steering more 190 countries towards and fair and ambitious deal.

“The draft agreement includes most of the ingredients of an outcome in Paris that can further boost global action and support vulnerable countries." Ms Caught said.

“However countries are still holding tight to entrenched positions, Ministers must now focus on what’s in the interest of the planet, and ensure they chose the options that will create a fair and ambitious agreement.”

Australia can play an important role in the second week of the Paris meeting helping broker solutions, but it must also step up and back key elements including:

  • ensuring that there is finance for adaptation and clear language of how finance will be scaled up post 2020,
  • supporting pre-2020 review of 2030 pollution reduction targets so we don’t lock in low ambition,
  • supporting a robust mechanism to close the emissions gap and drive greater ambition, and
  • supporting language to include loss and damage in the text.

Momentum grows in and outside the negotiations

Outside the nitty gritty of the negotiation the clean energy future has arrived. The African Union pledged to double the whole continent’s energy generation capacity using only renewables;  30 developing countries from the Climate Vulnerable Forum pledged to support 100% renewable energy by 2050, as did 1,000 city mayors from around the world.

“The message in Paris is loud a clear, renewable energy is good for humanity and the planet,” said Ms Caught.

“Momentum in and outside the negotiations is growing, Australia should seize the day.”


WWF-Australia Media Contact:
In Paris: Samantha Webb, Climate Change Communications Manager, +61 (0)432 388 041, swebb@wwf.org.au 
In Australia: Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager

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