Australia must commit to net-zero by 2040 or risk catastrophic damage to the Pacific: Greenpeace report
SYDNEY, Dec 3 2020 - Australia’s inadequate climate policies could see the world heat by almost four degrees by 2100 but the worst can be avoided for parts of the Pacific if Australia and other major emitters adopt a net-zero emissions by 2040 target, according to a new report by Greenpeace.
Under current policies, the world is projected to heat by a median estimate of 2.9 degrees by 2100, with a possible range of 2.1 to 3.9 degrees Celsius, the Te Mana o Te Moana: State of the Climate in the Pacific 2020 report states.
Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio said Pacific Island countries were already facing severe harm from climate change at the current 1.1 degrees of heating, and warned that many islands could face obliteration unless there is an immediate and steep reduction in emissions from major carbon emitters like Australia.
“Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter, the 14th largest emitter in the world and the biggest carbon emitter in the Pacific region, by far. This report shows that Australia must commit to net-zero by 2040 in order to avoid more catastrophic bushfire seasons at home and more powerful cyclones in the Pacific,” he said.
“Australia’s pitiful emissions reduction target has been categorised as ‘Insufficient’ by Climate Action Tracker. This means that if all other nations adopted the same approach as Australia it would lock in between 2 and 3 degrees of heating, which would be disastrous for the Pacific, which contributes the least but is among the nations impacted the most by climate damage
“This injustice must be addressed by the world’s biggest carbon emitters increasing their efforts to fix the problem they have created for the rest of the world.
“Pacific people can still protect their island homes and the cultures so intrinsically tied to them but it requires a recognition of the scale of the challenge and concerted action at the global level right now.
“As one of the major powers in the Pacific, with strategic interests in the region, it is in Australia’s interest to do all it can to reduce its national emissions in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees pathway – which this report shows it has not done to date.”
This would require a serious engagement with the Paris Agreement’s ratchet mechanism, through the submission of increasingly stringent reduction targets that would deliver the following emissions reduction outcomes:
- Net zero emissions by 2040
- 40-60 per cent reduction by 2025 from 2000 levels
- 60-80 percent reduction by 2030 from 2000 levels
“As well as increasing emissions reduction targets, the Australian Government must heed the unambiguous desire of Pacific leaders and outline clear policies on how targets will be met, including a moratorium on new coal-burning power stations and coal mines, and commitment to the Green Climate Fund,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Dr Nikola Casule said.
“Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor must also swiftly abandon the idea of meeting targets by using Kyoto carryover credits. It is a national embarrassment that Australia is the only country in the world advocating a policy that could fatally undermine the Paris Agreement.
“Scott Morrison has an opportunity to restore Australia to its leadership role in the region by taking the lead on addressing climate change in concert with our Pacific family.”
Download and read the report here
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan
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