Australia’s climate change plan

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison is set to announce a $2 billion boost to projects that reduce carbon emissions. As elections are nearing, the prime minister has pledged the amount for over the next 10 years. Climate change refers to a variation that occurs in the Earth’s climate. It is a variation in the statistical distribution of.....

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison is set to announce a $2 billion boost to projects that reduce carbon emissions. As elections are nearing, the prime minister has pledged the amount for over the next 10 years.

Background

Climate change refers to a variation that occurs in the Earth’s climate. It is a variation in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when it lasts for an extended period or a short period of time. Global warming is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its related effects. Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 per cent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are incredibly likely to be caused due to human activities.

Climate change poses a fundamental threat to places, species and people’s livelihoods. Sea levels are rising, and oceans are becoming warmer. Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.

Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, due to its unique ecosystem and geographic location. Australia has a vast amount of natural resources and industries like mining which is detrimental to the environment. The country has pledged support to the Paris Agreement, however, there has been insufficient action taken towards achieving the targets agreed in the Accords. 

Analysis

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia has pledged a $2 billion boost over the next 10 years to projects in direct action to lower carbon emissions in the country. 

This addition to the Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) will renew the Tony Abbott's climate change policy. This addition also outlines the plan for the country to meet the country’s target by 2030, according to the Paris Agreement. 

The acclaimed ERF would be now rebadged as “climate solutions fund”. This rebooted fund will partner with farmers, local governments and businesses to deliver “practical climate solutions”.

The country also recently installed renewable energy faster than any other country, a trend that will allow Australia to meet its economy-wide Paris targets five years ahead of schedule if politics doesn’t derail the trend. Australia is currently installing renewable power four or five times per capita faster than the European Union, Japan, China and the United States.

According to government projections, the country will now meet some of its carbon abatement goals through a mix of the Climate Solutions Package, energy performance in refrigeration and air conditioning and "technology improvements and other sources of abatement". 

The government also highlighted that the renewed fund would include funding for remote indigenous communities to reduce severe bushfires in rural and remote areas; support for small business to replace lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration systems to help reduce energy costs; drought proofing on farms; and support for local communities to reduce waste and increasing recycling rates.

Unlike other countries such as New Zealand, Australia intends to reach its targets without borrowing foreign carbon credits on taxpayers' money.

In addition, Australia’s largest coal producer and the world’s biggest thermal coal exporter, Glencore announced that it would cap their total coal production. The miner said that it will limit its capacity to produce coal to current levels, or about 150 million tons per year. Due to increasing pressure from the global society and green groups, the giant has agreed to withdraw from engaging in new coal mining projects.

Recently, thousands of Australian school students urged for greater action on climate change through protests across the country. The students refused to go to school as a form of protests.

According to the 2018 Emissions Gap report, the United Nations stated that Australia looked to achieve its "unconditional" target for the year 2020 by cutting emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels. However, the UN also estimated that the country was not on track to meet its pledged 26 per cent cut by the year 2030.

Assessment

Our assessment is that this new step by the Australian government is a double whammy for tackling climate change and for the Prime minister with the upcoming elections around the corner. We believe that if Australia is able to implement the proposed plan, it would indeed be possible to achieve its 2030 target. We also feel that the global concern of climate change is affecting nations and governments, thus encouraging a competitive spirit among countries to reduce carbon emissions.

 

 

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