Banking on Australia’s emissions

Why creative accounting will not get us to net zero emissions
Greenhouse gases Carbon emissions Emissions reduction Australia
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When historical land sector changes and the effects of the drought and COVID-19 pandemic are removed, it quickly becomes evident that, contrary to the Prime Minister’s assertions, Australia has made minimal progress towards net zero and its emissions trends are among the worst in the developed world. While all members of the Group of Seven (G7) have committed to deeper emissions cuts, Australia is being left behind both on ambition and performance.

In this paper, the authors provide a more credible basis from which to judge Australia’s progress and compare Australia’s emissions trend against that of similarly developed countries. This demonstrates that, while most other developed economies have reduced their emissions since 2005, Australia’s emissions have risen.

They then provide an explanation of the causes of reductions in net emissions from the land sector and outline how the Australian government has strategically taken advantage of years high in deforestation emissions when setting climate targets to conceal the lack of progress in transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Finally, the report outlines the impact of the drought and the pandemic on Australia’s emissions in 2020, explaining why the decline in reported 2020 emissions should not be used as a marker of progress.

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