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Here's Australia's Emissions Reduction Target Compared To The Rest Of The World

The coalition government has committed to a 26-28% emissions reductions target, which is way less than the recommendations from its own climate agency.

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The government has announced its goals for reducing carbon emissions today. Cabinet agreed to a 26% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030, which could go up to 28% depending on the economic impact.

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This is the commitment that Australia will take to the UN climate summit in Paris in December, where countries will meet to discuss how to keep the rise of global temperature below 2°C.

In July, the government's Climate Change Authority released its final report on the emissions target. It says in order to achieve this, Australia should commit to a 45 to 65 per cent cut on 2005 levels by 2030.

And 26% is heaps less than that.

With other countries having already submitted their targets to the UN, Australia's comparatively slack efforts to join the fight against climate change have seen us being sledged on the world stage.

Glenn Hunt / Getty Images

A panel of African countries singled out Australia as a “free-rider” on climate change in a report released in June and in a submission to the UN, China and Brazil accused us of having a low level of ambition.

The Climate Institute has released this helpful table showing all the major countries' emissions targets in a bit more detail:

Twitter: @jconnoroz

CEO John Connor says this would make Australia the country with the highest per capita pollution.

“If other countries took the same approach as the government announced today, the world would warm by 3-4°C,” he said.

“The government’s weak target is also bad for the economy. As many other nations continue to step up actions to limit emissions and modernise their economies through clean energy and other investments, this target implies that Australia will be the most pollution intensive developed economy by 2030.”

The table shows only the US, Switzerland, Norway and the EU are on track to meet the 2°C target.


The targets have been slammed as "vastly inadequate" by the independent Climate Council, with green groups labelling it a "fail".

Check out these awesome young ppl from @AYCC giving @TonyAbbottMHR a "FAIL" for climate inaction #ClimateFail

“These targets are vastly inadequate to protect Australians from the impacts of climate change and do not represent a fair contribution to the world effort to bring climate change under control,” Professor Tim Flannery said.

“No amount of smoke and mirrors will cover up the fact that an emissions reduction target of 40% on 2000 levels by 2030 is the bare minimum and this target is far below that,” he said.

So let's break down those numbers from the Climate Institute.

Flickr: dongga

Because different countries use different baseline dates for their targets, the Climate Institute has done some calculations to make it fit with Australia's timeline.


Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at

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