The government’s unrealistically high projections for Australia’s future emissions make the task of achieving the 5 per cent by 2020 target seem more challenging than it really is, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has claimed Australia goes to the Paris climate talks with credibility, saying Australia will meet its 2020 target five years early.
But research by ACF shows the target has always been weak and inflated projections about emissions growth make it easy to reach.
The Federal Government’s official projections suggest the amount of climate pollution Australia emits will be much higher in future than it is now, but these official estimates have consistently been inaccurate in predicting actual emission figures.
“Inflating the projections about Australia’s future pollution levels makes achieving the 5 per cent target a walk in the park,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“Australia is not at the front of the pack, or even in the middle of the pack; we’re at the back of the pack when it comes to pollution cuts.
“We can and must do much better, especially as our country is so vulnerable to drought, heatwaves, water shortages and other climate change impacts.
“When Australia’s minimum 5 per cent target was set, the government said it would increase it when other countries committed to stronger targets. This has happened, but our target remains low. The government is shirking its commitment.
“Strengthening Australia’s 2020 and 2030 targets would send a positive message about the Government’s commitment to climate action leading up to the meetings in Paris.
“It would also start the process of adapting Australia’s economy to meet the enormous challenges – and grasp the significant opportunities – that come with climate change.
“ACF urges Prime Minister Turnbull to show leadership by strengthening Australia’s 2020 and 2030 targets.”