Australia and G20 countries failing to cut greenhouse gas emissions to below ‘catastrophic’ levels

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, Media Releases article written on the 07 Sep 2023

Fresh analysis from Oxfam has found that Australia’s per capita emission levels are three times higher than what is required to avoid catastrophic climate change, as Prime Minister Albanese prepares to fly to India for the G20 Summit. 

This highlights that Australia must not only substantially increase our carbon pollution reduction efforts at home, but also ramp up finance and other support to help reduce carbon pollution in our region.     

According to a recent UNFCCC report, global emissions are set to rise by 10.6% by 2030 instead of falling by the 45% needed and Oxfam analysis shows Australia and other G20 countries are the worst offenders.  

Oxfam’s new report shows that under the G20’s current carbon pollution reduction pledges, their per capita greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 will be nearly double the amount needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.    

The G20 is responsible for 78% of all greenhouse gas emissions and will submit updated climate action pledges (called ‘nationally determined contributions’ or NDCs) to an important stocktake at the UN Climate Summit in Dubai in November. This will reveal whether we are on track to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, including to limiting global heating to 1.5 °C.  

“With less than three months to go before new carbon pollution reduction pledges are published, we call out Australia and other G20 countries for their failure of ambition and action. Unless we all substantially improve our pledges, we are effectively spelling ‘surrender’ in the face of the existential crisis of our times,” said Oxfam Australia’s Climate Justice Lead, Melissa Bungcaras.  

“Rising carbon emissions are causing bushfires and droughts, flash floods, heatwaves, sea-level rise and mega-storms. People living in poverty and in lower-income countries are suffering the most. We look to our government and the world’s other super-emitters for solutions, but find today their numbers simply don’t stack up.   

“Australia is amongst the wealthiest countries on Earth and we are also amongst the highest carbon polluters. Together with other wealthy G20 countries, we have the technological capability and financial capacity to stop climate catastrophe. A successful solution to the climate crisis can only be imagined when Australia joins with other G20 nations to lead on ambitious emission reductions at home and abroad.  

“The wealthiest G20 countries must ramp up their own domestic climate ambition and dramatically increase climate finance to developing countries to make up for our historic emissions. This is not only a matter of equity – without it, we won’t be able to avert climate catastrophe,” Ms Bungcaras said.  

For interviews, contact Lily Partland on 0418 118 687 /