– Greenhouse gases: Australia is raising its targets strongly
Australia’s new Prime Minister announced on Thursday that he had written a letter to the UN announcing a major increase in the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The head of the new center-left government has stated in his election manifesto that it will be reduced from 26-28% to 43% by 2030. This ambitious goal “prepares Australia for a prosperous future, a future driven by clean and cheap energy”, he pleaded, adding that “Australia will seize the opportunity presented to it to act on climate change.”
In late May, Australia announced that it would set higher ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emissions “very soon.”
Secretary of State Benny Wong acknowledged that Australia had “neglected its responsibility” in the past and that Canberra would no longer “ignore” calls from Pacific countries to act on climate change. “We have been selected on a plan to reduce emissions (greenhouse gases) by 43% by 2030 and reach neutral (carbon) by 2050,” he added.
“And these are not just words, we will put it into law and very soon we will submit a new national contribution to the UNFCCC at the national level” (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), he promised.
Jennifer Westcott, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, welcomed the decision, saying “Australia cannot delay progress again because if it fails, Australians will lose new opportunities, new businesses and better jobs.”
Under the previous Conservative government, Australia – one of the world’s largest coal and gas exporters – played a consistent role in international climate negotiations. The climate shown by the previous Australian Prime Minister has destabilized relations between Canberra and its neighbors and allies in the Pacific region.
Australia’s catastrophic wildfires and unprecedented floods illustrate the country’s impact on the effects of global warming.
In 2022, MIT ranked Australia 52nd out of 76 countries in its Green Future Index, which assesses how well countries are moving towards an environmentally sustainable economy.
Anthony Albanese sought to refute criticism that higher targets could affect jobs, saying the new targets would guarantee companies to “invest longer than the three-year policy cycle”. But, like other rich countries, it has so far refused to set a deadline for the gradual removal of coal.
Australia’s fossil fuel industry is already changing. On Wednesday, mining company BHP announced it would close coal mines in the Australian state of New South Wales by 2030, failing to find a buyer. On Tuesday, fossil fuel company BP announced it would take a 40.5% stake in Australia’s renewable energy project, which was announced as the world’s largest power plant.