The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time. Culminating at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November (COP26), 2021 is a decisive year in the global response to this challenge. The latest science is abundantly clear – global emissions must plummet this decade to avoid climate catastrophe.
In the lead-up to COP26, there has been a rapid and irreversible shift in the global politics surrounding climate change. Almost all developed countries have committed to net zero emissions by 2050, and substantially strengthened their 2030 targets ahead of Glasgow, with major powers including the UK, EU, US and China racing to gain advantage in the global energy transition and even their defence planning. Meanwhile, Australia remains a fossil fuel giant, with coal and gas industries that are among the world’s biggest drivers of climate change.
This assessment shows Australia remains the worst performing of all developed countries when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and moving beyond fossil fuels. Australia is being left behind, and facing unprecedented international pressure from our allies, security partners and neighbours to do better. A commitment and plan for rapidly cutting our emissions this decade will unlock investment, grow new export industries and create new jobs in our regions thanks to our world-class renewable energy resources and enviable mineral reserves.
As the world's leaders head towards crucial negotiations in Glasgow, this report takes stock of the world’s response to the climate crisis and what Australia needs to deliver if it is to play its part in protecting future generations and realise the economic benefits of stronger action.