The Glasgow Summit Conference of the Parties kicks off on 1 November and the UN warns it is the world’s last chance to get runaway climate change under control. It calls for national strategies by 191 countries to cut submissions and for fresh and more ambitious targets to be set.
Will the Federal Government do this?
Australia still has not made a submission to COP26 despite saying it would release its long-term strategy ahead of the Summit.
In all likelihood, Australia’s commitment will stay at 26% to 28% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030, and no national zero emissions target. This is way out of step with the states, our trading partners, comparable countries, and the vast majority of the Australian people. The US pledged a 50-52% reduction in the same time frame.
If adopted worldwide, a 26-28 degree target would mean temperature rises of between 2 and 3 degrees
Here’s what suggests there will be no change to our depressingly low target:
- In June the PM pressured the UK to drop a reference to containing global warming to 1.5 degrees from the bilateral trade agreement negotiation
- Resources minister, Keith Pitt told the UN to mind it‘s own business on climate action, bragging that Australia will keep mining coal well beyond 2030 and reiterated plans to keep exporting coal to developing countries
- At the Climate Ambition Summit last year Morrison offered no new pledges
- Coal brought in around $50 billion in exports and $3 billion in royalties last financial year and the major parties take donations worth … from the fossil fuel sector.
All of this is completely at odds with what the majority of Australians want to see. Here are the results of the Lowy Institute poll of Australian attitudes, taken 26 May:
- 91% say they would support subsidies for the development of renewable energy technology
- 78% support net zero emissions target for 2050
- 74% say the benefits of taking further action on climate change will outweigh the costs
- 64% support an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax
- 63% support a ban on new coal mines
- 60% say global warming is a serious and pressing problems and that we should begin taking steps now, even if this involves significant costs
Global Methane Pledge
On a brighter note, CNN reports
…. that he United States and the European Union launched a joint effort to curb emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nations that join them on the Global Methane Pledge will commit to cutting global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, relative to 2020 levels. Tonne-for-tonne methane warms the climate more than carbon dioxide does, but it stays in the atmosphere for years-to-decades, compared to carbon dioxide’s lifespan of centuries-to-millennia. As a result methane offers a sorely needed opportunity to slow warming in the near-term. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a collaboration of governments and environmental lobby groups, reckons that halving anthropogenic methane emissions over the next 30 years could shave 0.18°C off the average global temperature in 2050. In March, we called for governments to set specific methane targets. The Global Methane Pledge does just that.
In Australia, 60% of methane emissions were man-made and agriculture is the main source although, according to CSIRO, emissions from gas are increasing whereas they are dropping in agriculture. See here for our platform on this.