The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, is an international treaty that aims to keep global temperature rise below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. As a signatory to the agreement, Australia has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
So, how is Australia progressing towards these targets?
According to the latest data from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have been declining since the peak in 2007-08. In fact, as of 2019, emissions were 16.3% below 2005 levels. However, this reduction has primarily been driven by decreased emissions from the electricity sector, which has largely shifted away from coal towards renewable energy sources.
In other sectors, progress has been slower. Emissions from transport, for example, have increased by 1.5% since 2005, while emissions from agriculture have remained relatively stable. The industrial sector, which includes manufacturing and mining, has also seen emissions reductions, but at a slower pace than the electricity sector.
Critics argue that Australia’s progress towards its Paris Agreement targets has been insufficient, and that the country needs to do more to reduce its emissions. The Climate Council, for example, has called for Australia to strengthen its commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, rather than 2050.
In addition to domestic efforts, Australia is also involved in international climate action initiatives. For example, the country has pledged $1.5 billion over the next five years to help other countries reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Australia is also a member of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which aims to stabilize emissions from international flights at 2020 levels.
Overall, while Australia has made some progress towards its Paris Agreement commitments, there is still much work to be done. The country will need to continue to transition to low-emission energy sources, as well as implement policies and initiatives to reduce emissions in other sectors. Only then can Australia truly contribute to the global effort to tackle climate change.