Towards a workable global emissions scheme – building on our relative strengths

Employment Australia

The leading authorities on climate change have indicated that countries should be aiming to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at 550 ppmv of CO2. This will restrict global warming to about 2.8°C, which is the upper limit for averting the worst impacts of climate change. It has been suggested that stabilization at this level can be achieved by reducing global emissions to 50% below business as usual emissions.

With global electricity production projected to treble by 2050, largely as a result of activities in emerging economies such as China and India, it is clear that a technology based solution will be needed to bring down global greenhouse gas emissions. Without meaningful buy-in from emerging economies, any multilateral measures on greenhouse gas mitigations will be meaningless.

The Kyoto Protocol lacks a technology focus and does not set any clear pathway for emerging economies. A new, workable emissions trading scheme is needed, which will set a long term emissions target in line with the level of abatement that is actually required. The scheme must include a series of near term targets for all countries, based on what is actually feasible for them if opportunities for technology development and transfer are maximized. Clearly a strategic technology policy must be a major feature of a workable global scheme.

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