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climate change

Surprise! Australia is Failing Its Terrible Climate Change Targets

We're bunking on our Paris Climate Summit promises and embarrassing ourselves in front of the UN.

Two Years ago at the Paris climate summit, Australia pledged to make the carbon emission cuts needed to avoid dangerous climate change and global warming by 2030. Specifically, to reduce emissions by 26-28 percent.

At the time, a lot of us were like, suuuuuure.

Don't get us wrong, we wanted to believe them. It's like when your pal swears they'll never fuck a coworker again. You're all, "Dude, I want to believe that so bad. I want to believe you're that person now and that you're gonna change."


What I'm saying is, Jan fucked Dan from HR. Or rather, Australia is likely to miss its commitment by a long shot, according to the UN.

A new report from the UN Environment Programme called Emissions Gap 2017 notes that Australian government projections see our emissions hitting 592 million tonnes of CO2-equvialent a year by 2030. To put that to scale, we were trying to get within range of 429-440 MTCO2. For the record, though, the report also flagged that those original targets would only lead to one third of the changes needed to stop stop global average temperatures rising two degrees or more. Its authors warned that "There is an urgent need for accelerated short-term action and enhanced longer-term national ambition, if the goals of the Paris Agreement are to remain achievable."

Independent international research group Climate Action Tracker (CAT) were even blunter about Australia's failure. In a recent report they pointed out that our targets were "insufficient", and that if all other countries followed our targets and current policy settings we'd see the globe warming by 4°C.

A change in the planet's temperature that significant would result in even more of the major weather events we're currently seeing, as well as huge droughts, food shortages, and rising sea levels. This century alone, we've seen weather-related disasters increase by 46 percent.

A health and climate change report from The Lancet put this into human terms. They reported that between the years 2000 and 2016, the number of vulnerable people (infants and the elderly ) exposed to heatwaves rose by about 125 million.


On the bright side, the rest of the world isn't doing too badly on their emissions targets. In fact, global emissions have remained steady for the past three years. MVP for most improved goes to China, whose emissions have plateaued. A contributor to the UN report, and professor at the Australian National University's Crawford School, Frank Jotzo, told the Sydney Morning Herald that thanks to renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies becoming more affordable, it wouldn't be "terribly hard" for nations to increase their emissions cuts. He sadly pointed out, "It's the politics that get in the way."

Or, as CAT put it: "Whilst the Federal Government continues to promote coal as a solution to energy security issues, downplay renewable energy and obfuscate on its climate policies, the reality on the ground at the state level, public opinion and across the business sector in Australia, is very different."

On the topic of state levels, that's one area where things are looking a bit more promising. South Australia is setting the pace for the rest of the nation, tracking well to hit their target of 50 percent renewable by 2025 and zero emissions by 2050. Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland have a 50 percent renewable target for 2030.

Goes to show, if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.

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For more on Australian climate change:

Australia's Effort to Dodge Climate Change Is Officially Embarrassing

Here's a Worrying New Report on Australian Climate Change

Kangaroo Farts Are Unlocking Ways to Tackle Climate Change