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Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

Fake action’: Australia’s secret path to hitting Paris climate goals, Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam,– 10 December 2018 Australia could use a little-known loophole to help meet up to half its Paris climate commitments in a move that analysts warn could undermine the global accord.

Neither Environment Minister Melissa Price nor Labor will rule out counting Australia’s expected credits from beating its 2020 goal under the soon-to-be-superseded Kyoto Protocol against its 2030 Paris pledge.

The analysts say such a move by Australia would encourage other nations to follow suit.

One ex-member of Australia’s negotiating team said the government had considered using the credits for some time even though it went against the spirit of the Paris accord signed in 2015. While not formally on the agenda at the current climate talks in Poland, the issue of Kyoto credits is expected to be discussed in coming days.

Ms Price, who is attending the summit in the city of Katowice, has put the expected surplus by 2020 – when the Paris agreement kicks in –

at 294 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

However, consultancy Climate Analytics calculated the final figure will be at least 333 million tonnes. If accounting around land use changes – including tree planting and land clearing – is settled in Australia’s favour, the surplus could swell to 400 million tonnes.

Australia’s current pledge under the Paris agreement is to cut emissions 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Unless other nations object to the use of carryover credits, it could then meet the target with just a 15 per cent cut – a much easier task.

“This appears to be the ‘canter’ the government keeps talking about,”

said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics. “It is fake action and would be rorting the planet, and will undermine real action in Australia.”

Carryover estimates are based on data provided by Australia to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of 2017.

Ms Price declined to directly answer questions about how it will use any Kyoto carryover.

‘Fatal undermining’

Richie Merzian, who was part of Australia’s climate negotiations

team for nine years before joining think tank The Australia Institute in April, said the government had long considered deploying a Kyoto surplus towards its Paris target.

“It was certainly part of their train of thinking,” Mr Merzian said. “It could be they were banking on this.”

“You’re basically getting away without reducing your emissions,” he said…….

Labor caution

Mark Butler, Labor’s climate spokesman, declined to rule out using Kyoto credits if the ALP wins office next year………

Adam Bandt, the Greens’ climate spokesman, said the public expected “a government of climate deniers to use dodgy accounting to shirk their climate responsibilities, but not Labor”.

“Labor needs to follow the lead of many other developed countries and immediately rule out using carryover credits to meet our measly Paris obligations if it wins office,” he said.

Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change, said any weakening of emissions targets would sap investments needed to tranform the economy to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

“To secure the long-term prosperity of Australia, targets need to be in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement – limiting warming to 1.5 degrees and well below 2 degrees,” Ms Herd said.

“The longer we delay credible taking action, the harder the economic adjustment will be and Australia will continue to lose the opportunity to unlock the benefits of investment in clean energy and other low carbon

December 11, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international

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