The government’s emissions reduction target would place Australia at or near the bottom of comparable nations including the US and UK, the independent Climate Change Authority says.
Chairman Bernie Fraser said on the basis of the current targets, Australia would slip further behind the efforts of other nations and likely face catch-up adjustments down the track.
Under the target announced this week, the government aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Mr Fraser said in its most recent report, the Authority had recommended a target of a 30 per cent reduction below 2000 levels by 2025.
It said Australia should be aiming for a 40-60 per cent reduction by 2030.
“Individually, the government’s target of a 26-28 per cent reduction in total emissions…..would put Australia at or near the bottom of the group of countries we generally compare ourselves with,” Mr Fraser said in his statement.
The UK aims is aiming at a 61 per cent reduction, Germany 45 per cent, the US 35-39 per cent, EU 34 per cent and New Zealand 30 per cent.
Japan is aiming for a 25 per cent reduction, while China expects an increase of 72-96 per cent.
Mr Fraser said with the right policies, Australia could achieve more ambitious reduction targets at a modest cost.
He agreed Australia did meet its Kyoto emissions reduction target.
But so did 36 of the 38 nations with Kyoto targets, he said.
Mr Fraser said it was difficult to assess how Australia was travelling in achieving a five per cent reduction on 2000 emissions levels by 2020.
“With the year 2020 more than four years off it would seem possible to implement some additional measures with a view to reducing emissions by more than the minimum five per cent,” he said.
“Any success on this front would help to make the attainment of 2030 and subsequent targets more manageable.”