The Paris Agreement is an international treaty signed by 196 countries in 2015, with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and aiming for a limit of 1.5 degrees. As part of the agreement, each country is expected to set its own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and regularly report on its progress towards meeting those targets.
Australia is one of the countries that signed the Paris Agreement and has set its own emissions reduction target. However, its target has been the subject of criticism, both domestically and internationally.
Australia`s target is to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. This target has been widely regarded as inadequate by climate activists, who argue that it falls short of the level of action required to prevent catastrophic climate change. In 2019, the Climate Change Authority – an independent government body – recommended that Australia aim for a reduction of 45-65% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Critics of Australia`s target argue that the country has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions levels in the world, largely due to its heavy reliance on coal for electricity generation. They also point out that Australia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including more frequent and intense bushfires, droughts, and heatwaves.
Despite these criticisms, the Australian government has maintained its target, and even suggested that it may exceed it. In a recent interview with The Australian newspaper, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that Australia was on track to “meet and beat" its target.
However, the government`s own data suggests that Australia is not on track to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. In fact, emissions have been rising in recent years, due in part to an increase in liquefied natural gas exports.
The Paris Agreement is a crucial global effort to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Australia`s emissions reduction target is a crucial part of that effort, and there is a growing call for the country to take more ambitious action. Whether or not Australia will increase its target remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the world is watching closely.