Report

Tracking progress to net zero emissions

National progress on reducing emissions across the Australian economy and outlook to 2030
Publisher
Global environmental change Climate change Greenhouse gas mitigation Carbon emissions Emission reduction Paris Agreement Australia
Description

This report uses findings from the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP) and compares these with the Australian Government's emissions data and projections to examine whether Australia is on track for a net zero pathway and for its first commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. It assesses recent progress since 2005 and the outlook to 2030.

In common with 179 other countries who ratified the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to keeping global warming well below 2 degrees, aiming to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and to reach net zero emissions. For developed countries like Australia, a 2 degree limit is generally accepted to mean reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – the majority of states and territories have agreed to this goal. Limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees would require an earlier date.

Australia’s current emissions reduction target is 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is less ambitious than the Climate Change Authority’s recommended target range of 45 to 65 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 for Australia’s contribution to a 2 degree goal (CCA 2015). To make sure the world is on track, all countries in the Paris Agreement have been asked to consider whether their current target is ambitious enough.

We already know Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050. The Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in 2050 (DDPP) report (ClimateWorks et al 2014) identified the emissions reductions potential to put Australia on a pathway to net zero in 2050 while the economy continues to grow. There are alternative pathways also. On the net zero pathway, identified by the DDPP, Australia has the potential to reach 55 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is the mid-point of the Climate Change Authority’s recommended range.

Given Australia has passed the half-way point from the 2005 base year to 2030, now is an important time to take stock. This Tracking Progress report by ClimateWorks Australia therefore assesses how Australia is tracking against Paris commitments.

This report compares the net zero pathway to the Government’s emissions figures and projections to examine whether Australia is on track for the net zero pathway and the Government's 2030 target. It assesses recent progress since 2005 and the outlook to 2030 considering current, proposed and enhanced policy scenarios. It looks at electricity, industry, buildings, transport and land sectors. The report also presents progress under the four pillars of decarbonisation: energy efficiency, low carbon electricity, fuel switching and non-energy emissions, to create detailed understanding of how emissions in Australia's economy are changing - and where they are not.

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2018