The Government is aiming for the former government’s emissions reduction target of 5% below 2000 by 2020, and its 2015 review looks set to delay stronger targets until post-2020. Instead of raising the 2020 target as is urgently needed, the review will focus on post-2020 targets and base its decision on the level of international action. This is completely inappropriate considering the situation outlined in points 1-2.
The former government’s choice of a 5% target was based on Garnaut’s “modified contraction and convergence” framework, which unfairly favors Australia by allowing it to maintain its high per-capita emissions for decades, rewarding Australia for its past failure to cut emissions, and rewarding Australia for policies promoting rapid population growth. The CCA Targets Review’s draft report uses essentially the same unfair approach as Garnaut.
Australia’s surplus credits from the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period will be used to meet the 2020 target. Not only will this displace future emissions cuts, it further unfairly rewards Australia for having demanded an emissions growth target in Kyoto, and “achieved” that target with dubious accounting in LULUCF (land use, land use change, and forestry) without meaningfully reducing its contribution to climate change.
The Government’s present target is relative to a baseline of emissions levels in the year 2000 and includes LULUCF. But it would be much fairer to make 1990 the base year and exclude LULUCF from the main target, so that Australia is not rewarded for the failure of past governments to cut emissions (during a period when harm from emissions was foreseeable).
Furthermore, the Direct Action Plan is highly unlikely to meet its target (let alone a more ambitious target), because of all the reasons described in points 4-15.