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1.000 ice sculptures in the shape of humans symbolising the effect of global warming, Berlin © Rosa Merk / WWF-Germany

1.000 ice sculptures in the shape of humans symbolising the effect of global warming, Berlin © Rosa Merk / WWF-Germany

Australia punches below its weight in signalling future pollution reduction targets

11 Aug 2015

Keywords
  • carbon pollution
  • climate change
  • energy
  • great barrier reef

The indicative post-2020 carbon pollution reduction target announced by Australian Government today falls well short of its commitment to do its fair share in the international effort to keep global warming below 2 degrees.

Australia announced a target of 26% by 2030 on 2005 levels (equivalent to 19% on 2000 levels). This is well short of the 65% on 2005 levels advocated by WWF-Australia and others, as required if we are to pull our weight to help prevent dangerous levels of global warming. 

While most developed countries still need to do more, Australia’s target puts us at the back of the pack, well below efforts being made by the USA, UK, China and others, and leaves Australia as one of the highest per capita emitters in the world.

“The draft target announced by the Australian Government today is woefully inadequate to protect the people and places we love from the impacts of global warming,” said WWF-Australia National Manager Climate Change, Kellie Caught.

“Australians are already feeling the effects of increasing extreme weather made worse by global warming, on our food, farms, health, economy, and iconic places like the Great Barrier Reef.

“If every country matched Australia’s effort the world would be on track for 3-4 degrees of warming. Australians and our precious environment deserve better.

“It’s in Australia’s interest that the world acts to cut carbon pollution, but we can’t urge others to do more if we sit at the back of the pack. We can get a better outcome at the front.

“By taking real leadership on climate change action we can reduce future costs and risks and build a more sustainable and healthier future for all Australians.

“It’s not too late. The carbon pollution target announced today is draft, so there is still opportunity for Prime Minister Abbott to step up and strengthen Australia’s target,” she said.

The announcement today also failed to provide any indications on how Australia would meet its previous commitment to increase its financial support to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“Between now and the December UN climate change meeting in Paris, the Australia Government has the opportunity to strengthen its carbon pollution reduction targets, and set out a long-term plan for providing finance to our regional neighbours to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change,” Ms Caught said.

Leader of WWF-International’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, Samantha Smith said Australia's climate pledge is woefully inadequate by any measure.

“The Australian government needs to improve their climate pledge or risk being shown up by its trading partners and allies,” Ms Smith said.

WWF-Australia Media Contact:

Daniel Rockett, National Media Manager

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