International pressure grows over Australian emission targets

Australia is facing renewed international pressure to explain what it is doing to tackle climate change, with a United Nations review finding its emissions continue to soar and several countries calling for clarity about what it will do after 2020.

Countries including China and the US have put more than 30 questions to the Turnbull government, asking for detail about how Australia will meet its 2030 emissions target and raising concerns about a lack of transparency over how the government calculates and reports emissions.

An expert review commissioned by the UN found, based on data submitted by Australia, its emissions would be 11.5 per cent higher in 2020 than they were in 1990.

Industrial emissions – not counting those from forestry and land-clearing – were expected to rise 33.5 per cent over the three decades.

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Average global temperatures from 1880 to 2016 (covering January to June). Photo: NASA

International concern is rising with

  • China wanting to know what the repeal of the carbon price has done to Australia’s emissions, and whether it has considered other approaches to carbon pricing.
  • The US asking whether Australia is introducing any longer-term policies that will help it meet its 2030 target that it may not know about.
  • New Zealand following up a pledge Australia made to release modelling this year of what its emissions would be in 2030.

In a sign that the government does not give much credence to anyone except itself on this issue, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said Australia was making an important contribution to the global effort on climate change, and was on track to beat its 2020 Kyoto Protocol target.

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 Victoria’s Halewood power station burning coal

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