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Targets and Progress Review Draft Report

Question and Answers for the Targets and Progress Review

What is the Authority recommending?

The Draft Report presents a set of short, medium and long-term emissions reduction goals for Australia for consultation.

The Draft Reports presents two sets of options for Australia’s emissions reduction pathway to 2030 for comment: one based on a 2020 target of 15 per cent (on 2000 levels) and the other on a 2020 target of 25 per cent.

It puts forward a draft recommendation for a long-term carbon budget to 2050 for Australia of 10.1 Gt CO2-e. The budget is based on the science and what the Authority considers is fair and sensible for Australia. The Authority proposes that this long term budget be reviewed regularly.

Why does the Authority recommend doing more than 5 per cent?

The 5 per cent target is Australia’s current minimum commitment. The Authority’s analysis suggests that Australia should go beyond 5 per cent because:

  • the Government’s conditions for moving beyond 5 per cent have been met;
  • a 5 per cent target is at the lower end of effort compared with other key countries, including the United States;
  • it is inconsistent with what the science is telling us we need to do to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and does too little now – leaving too much for later; and
  • a stronger target could be accommodated at relatively small cost.

What are the impacts of climate change in Australia?

Climate change poses serious risks to Australia’s economy, natural environment and way of life. Australia already experiences extremes of drought and floods. Climate change is projected to make these extremes worse. There is evidence these changes are already occurring.

For example:

  • Heatwaves, fires, floods and drought are expected to become more frequent and more intense over coming decades in much of Australia.
  • Even under low levels of temperature rise, vulnerable ecosystems like the alpine regions, the Great Barrier Reef and the Kakadu wetlands will be severely affected.

What is the rest of the world doing?

Ninety-nine countries covering more than 80 per cent of global emissions have made international pledges to reduce or limit their emissions.

Australia is not acting alone. The Authority’s draft recommendations would put Australia more closely in line with the actions of other countries, including the United States.

Both of the world’s two biggest emitters, China and the United States, are acting on climate change. These countries are responsible for more than a third of global emissions. China and the United States are both investing in renewable energy technologies, introducing carbon pricing in different states and cities and regulating pollution from cars and power plants.

Has global warming paused?

The Authority’s draft report looks at the science of climate change. The recent IPCC report confirms that that world is still getting warmer because of human activities. This long-term trend is unchanged. 

Has the Authority considered the recent IPCC report?

Yes.  This Review has drawn on the most up-to-date climate science, including the recent IPCC report.

The IPCC report draws on a vast body of scientific evidence accumulated over many years.

Why does the Authority support Australia purchasing international emissions reductions?

From an environmental perspective, there is no special merit in reducing emissions in one country over another.

Using genuine international emissions reduction can reduce the costs of meeting Australia’s emissions reduction goals, helping Australia to take on stronger targets beyond its minimum 5 per cent commitment. International emissions reductions could also complement domestic efforts to meet the minimum 5 per cent target.

How much will meeting Australia’s targets cost?

Australia can achieve stronger targets than the minimum 5 per cent at relatively small cost. Economic modelling conducted by the Treasury and the former climate change department for the Targets and Progress Review shows that Australia can achieve targets of 15 or 25 per cent while national income continues to grow.

What happens next?

This is a draft report. The Authority is seeking feedback before finalising its recommendations.

The Authority welcomes written submissions by 29 November 2013.  Submissions can be on any topic in the draft report. To make a submission, please follow the instructions at http://consultation.climatechangeAuthority.gov.au/

The Targets and Progress Review will be finalised by 28 February 2014. The Minister must respond to the Authority’s final recommendations within 6 months.

How do I make a submission?

Follow the instructions at

http://consultation.climatechangeAuthority.gov.au/

If you need help, please email: submissions@climatechangeAuthority.gov.au or call 1800 475 869.

You can make comments on any part of the report. You do not need to be a climate expert –the Authority is interested in hearing the views of the community as well as expert views.