Skip To Content

    China, United States, Basically Everyone, Grill Australia On Emissions Target

    China, US challenge Australian government's commitment to climate action.

    Some of the world's biggest emitters are openly criticising Australia's 5% emissions reduction target, accusing the Abbott government of having a "low level of ambition".

    Hamish Blair / Getty Images

    China, the European Union, the United States, Switzerland, Brazil and Saudi Arabia lodged 36 questions to the UN for Australia to answer, ahead of the December global climate summit in Paris.

    23 countries received queries under the UN's Multilateral Assessment Process, but the ABC reports Australia faces more questions than any other country.

    Australia has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, and has not yet set any targets beyond 2020.

    Torsten Blackwood / Getty Images

    This compares to a U.S. emissions target of 26-28% below 2000 levels by 2025. China's target is 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2020 and Brazil has committed to 36-39% below business-as-usual levels by 2020.


    Brazil really stuck the boot in, ridiculing Australia's 5% reduction target.

    Thinkstock / Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

    Brazil is one of the best performing countries when it comes to tackling climate change, slashing its greenhouse emissions by a whopping 41% between 2005 and 2012.

    China, the world's biggest polluter, questioned whether Australia's target was fair.

    Thinkstock / Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

    Beijing also wanted to know if the federal government's emissions reductions fund (ERF) would be enough to meet the 5% target after it cut the carbon price.

    The European Union wanted updated projections from Australia about the ERF, since it replaced the Emissions Trading Scheme.

    Thinkstock / Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

    Europe has committed to 40% reduction of emissions by 2030.

    While the U.S. wanted to know if Australia had any other plans to reduce emissions other than the ERF.

    Thinkstock / Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

    Environment minister Greg Hunt has said Australia is on track to meet the target but leading economists say if it does happen, it will be "by luck not by design".

    The Independent Climate Action Tracker site classifies Australia's climate policy as "inadequate" and says Australia will struggle to even reach that target since repealing the carbon tax. "The currently proposed new legislation will result in emissions increasing by 12-18% above 2000 emissions levels, rather than the 5% reduction pledged."

    The grilling comes with the news that Australia is not sending a government minister to high-level climate talks in Washington starting Sunday.

    US Department of State / Flickr: statephotos

    17 countries will participate in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change. Fairfax is reporting that Australia will not send a ministerial representative as expected, and is sending public servant Gordon de Brouwer, who is the head of the environment department.

    Australia has until the end of May to answer the questions submitted to the UN framework convention on climate change.

    ABC News

    Read all the questions to Australia here:

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form