Australia ranks dead last on climate

Australia ranks dead last on climate
Australia ranks dead last on climate

Australia is the worst climate performer out of all developed countries, a new report from the Climate Council has today revealed.

‘From Paris to Glasgow: A world on the move’, has assessed both Australia’s track record on climate and its commitments moving forward against its international peers and found that Australia is the worst performing when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and moving beyond fossil fuels.

“A commitment to net zero by 2050 would still leave Australia dead last, unless accompanied by a much stronger commitment to cutting emissions this decade,” said report lead author and Climate Council Head of Research Dr Simon Bradshaw, who is heading to Glasgow for the summit.

“This is a defining moment in the world’s response to climate change, and Australia remains the villain, and an outlier in the international community,” said Dr Bradshaw.

Chief Climate Councillor, Professor Tim Flannery who is also headed to COP26 with the Climate Council said: “We know what needs to happen in Glasgow, and we know what Australia must do to help achieve it. Net zero by 2050 is last year’s story. Almost all our traditional allies and major trading partners ticked that off long ago and have now set their sights on 2030. It is the scale and pace of action through the 2020s that matters, and which Glasgow’s success or failure will be measured by.”

Report Key Findings:

  • Despite new climate pledges and significant international momentum, there remains a major shortfall between what’s being promised and the pace of action required. Alongside other countries, Australia must do its part to help close this gap at the next major UN climate talks in Glasgow.
  • Emissions in the sectors that matter most have increased in Australia. Electricity emissions have increased by around a third since 1990, while transport emissions have grown by more than half.
  • Climate change is now a strategic priority for the world’s major powers including the UK, EU and China, as they race to gain advantage in the global energy transition.
  • A commitment and plan for rapidly cutting our emissions this decade will unlock investment and create new jobs in renewable energy and clean industries, particularly in regional areas.
  • With world-class renewable energy resources and enviable mineral reserves needed to drive the global energy transition, Australia has the potential to grow new export industries that far exceed the value of our current fossil fuel exports.

“Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels as well as being heavily reliant on them at home. By strengthening our climate commitments and actions this decade, we can have a huge impact on the future of our planet,” said Professor Hughes.

There are currently over 80 proposed coal projects in the pipeline for Australia and five new mammoth gas basins, as well dozens of smaller gas projects dotted across the country.

“It will be game over for Australia on ever being taken seriously on climate change again if these polluting fossil fuel projects are allowed to proceed,” said Dr Bradshaw.

“There has been a rapid and irreversible shift in the global politics surrounding climate change. Australia must get with the program – to reap the economic and geostrategic benefits of taking stronger action – or get left behind,” Dr Bradshaw added.

The Climate Council has calculated that Australia should reduce its emissions by 75% (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2035. As a first step, Australia should match the updated commitments of our key allies – including the US and the UK – and pledge before Glasgow to at least halve national emissions this decade.

Nicky Sparshott, CEO Unilever Australia and NZ said: “Our business has a large and complex value chain and we’re already experiencing the challenges and the escalating costs that more extreme weather patterns and long-term climatic changes bring to our operations.”

“Governments must commit to establishing policy frameworks that give businesses confidence to invest in a net zero future. Once Australia has clear targets, the whole system will rally behind achieving them. Ultimately resulting in the transformational systems change we urgently need and ensuring Australia is not left behind,” he added.

October 21, 2021