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PICAN Submission — Australia Climate Change Authority on next emission reduction targets for NDCs

30 June 2023

PICAN Submission - Advice on emissions reduction targets for Australia’s next Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement

The IPCC 6th Assessment Round shows us that without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, we will not be able to limit warming to 1.5°C. In the very near term, the science is clear - emissions must peak now and at the very latest before 2025(1). Such urgency, backed by science-based commitments should be the framing of Australia’s next NDC, guiding deep and immediate reductions in the near, medium, and long term.

A climate change performance index assessment(2) of Australia’s climate change policies and strengthened NDC ranked Australia 55th out of 63 countries in addressing the climate crisis. This is despite Australia being a high-income country and a leading development partner in the Pacific region, which is significantly impacted by climate change.

The recent report by IPCC authors on Australia’s emissions reduction targets and 1.5°C pathways(3), highlights that despite recent strengthening, Australia's current 2030 target remains inconsistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This is deeply concerning for Pacific Island nations, which are on the frontline of climate change impacts and for whom 1.5°C is a survival limit.

The report suggests that a 1.5°C consistent pathway for Australia requires at least a 67% reduction relative to 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2038. This is based on the assumption that Australia's share of the global emissions budget is a generous 0.97%. However, considering Australia's share of the global population is only around 0.33%, an equal per capita allocation of emissions would imply that Australia has already exhausted its full emissions budget.

The regional position of Australia, neighboured by Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) with insignificant emissions, high vulnerability and limited capacity to cope or address loss and damage, Australia’s unambitious climate commitments have had a significant impact on Pacific states. Our nations are experiencing the brunt of climate change, with rising sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of storms, and threats to our biodiversity and food security. The actions of larger nations, such as Australia, have direct consequences for the survival and well-being of all Pacific people.

We urge Australia to reconsider its current climate targets and align them with the scientific consensus to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This means at the very least, and lowest end of ambition, a 67% reduction relative to 2005 levels by 2030, and achieving net zero by 2038. We believe that Australia, as a member of the international community and a significant contributor to global emissions, has a moral and ethical responsibility to take robust action on climate change for current and future generations.

(2) Climate Change Performance Index (2022) Australia Assessment

(3) Meinshausen, M., & Nicholls,Z (2023). Updated Assessment of Australia’s Emissions Reduction Targets and 1.5°C pathways. Climate Resource

Endorsed and submitted by:

Pacific Islands Climate Action Network

Kiribati Climate Action Network

Solomon Islands Climate Action Network

Tuvalu Climate Action Network

Vanuatu Climate Action Network

Alliance for Future Generations

Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality

Women Defend Commons Network

Pacific IslandsFeminist Alliance for Climate Justice

Pacific Feminist Community of Practice


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