A report just released by the UN’s climate change body shows that current country pledges to reduce emissions will not be enough to avoid dangerous climate change, Oxfam said today.
Oxfam Australia’s climate change policy advisor Kelly Dent said that while the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s verdict showed that the world was making progress, much more needed to be done. This round of pledges still leads to 2.7 degrees of warming, a level that would prove catastrophic for countries around the world, especially the poorest already struggling with the impacts of climate change.
Ms Dent said Australia’s current commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 fell far short of a fair contribution to the global emissions reduction task and would leave Australia as one of the highest per capita emitters and one of the most carbon intensive economies amongst developed countries by 2030.
“We welcome the fact that so many countries have made pledges to limit or cut their emissions – some by significant amounts, others less so,” she said.
“Notably, many developing countries have made comparatively much stronger commitments than far wealthier countries like Australia. For example, Brazil will reduce its emissions by 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and the Marshall Islands by 45 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030.
“Rich countries especially need to do more to pull their weight. Already, at less than one degree of warming, Australia’s Pacific neighbours are being hit hard. Rising seas are swallowing land and homes and climate change is increasing the destructive power of tropical cyclones.
“Shifting weather patterns are causing havoc with food production. The region now faces the compounding impact of a ‘Super’ El Nino event, including drought in parts of Papua New Guinea.”
Countries must make much steeper emissions cuts to keep the average temperature rise below 2 degrees. Remaining below 1.5 degrees, the level that many vulnerable countries are demanding for their very survival, will require even stronger action.
“Australia has a chance to re-establish its international credibility on climate change and contribute to a strong outcome for vulnerable communities around the world. If not, the world’s poorest people, who are already affected by climate change, will pay the biggest price,” Ms Dent said.
To do its fair share, Australia needs to reduce its domestic emissions by at least 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025, 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve zero emissions well before mid-century.
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