Federal Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen has delivered the government’s first annual statement on climate change in parliament.
As part of the 2022 Climate Change Bill, which passed into law earlier this year under the newly-elected Labor government, the minister for climate change must deliver an annual statement on progress on climate change, with the advice of the independent Climate Change Authority.
According to the projections in the statement, Australia is currently on track for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
While this is higher than country’s trajectory a year ago, where estimates were at around a 30-38% reduction, it’s still lower than the government’s now-legislated target of 43%.
“Policies we’ve received a mandate for and are working to implement will lift our result to at least 43%,” said Bowen.
The independent environment group, Climate Analytics, estimates that the 43% target is consistent with 2°C of global warming, but not 1.5°C. Bowen reiterated that the target was a floor, not a ceiling.
Bowen highlighted a few policies the government had brought in to close in on the target, including tax cuts for electric vehicles, solar banks for low-income families, and the $20 billion allocated in the budget for the Rewiring the Nation plan, which will update the electricity grid to distribute over 80% renewables by 2030.
Bowen emphasised that in order to meet the 2030 target, emissions would need to drop at about 40% faster than they have been.
“As the Climate Change Authority advice makes clear, to achieve this target, we will need to achieve the same emissions reduction in the next eight years, that has been achieved in the last 18 years in total,” he said.
Bowen said that Australia had decarbonised at a rate of around 12 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year since 2009, and this would need to be 17 million tonnes per year to meet the 2030 target.
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Ellen Phiddian is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a BSc (Honours) in chemistry and science communication, and an MSc in science communication, both from the Australian National University.
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