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Monday, May 27, 2019
Australia’s climate change policy has revolved around whether the climate is changing, to what extent has it been human induced and the country’s response, by way of an emissions reduction target. These issues were front and centre during the election campaign, with all political parties providing the electorate with vastly different policy approaches to consider. The problem with this debate is it has focused narrowly on what Australia is doing. It has completely ignored the role of other nations and Australia’s role in influencing their positions, in particular those countries who are underperforming or not participating.
- Cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of $62 billion under the 26-28 per cent scenario versus $472 billion under the 45 per cent scenario. This is a significant impact given the total size of the Australian economy is $1.3 trillion.
- Real average wages to decrease $2,000 per annum under the 26-28 per cent scenario versus $9,000 per annum under the 45 per cent scenario.
- Full time job losses of 78,000 under the 26-28 per cent scenario versus 336,000 under the 45 per cent scenario.
- Electricity prices, which are already at excessive highs, to increase $93/MWh under the 26-28 per cent scenario versus $128/MWh under the 45 per cent scenario.
The advantage for agriculture is it was to be excluded from the 45 per cent target. This significantly reduces the impact on the sector compared to
other sectors. However, agriculture would experience indirect costs passed on by those directly impacted. BAE Economics estimate that for the livestock
sector, which includes dairy, a decline between 0.7 to 2.6 in output will occur depending on the scenario.
The impact of Australia’s emission reduction target depends on responses by other countries
The difference between the two targets of the major parties is 19 per cent. This translates to 0.27 per cent of total global emissions (based on Australia’s current 1.45 per cent contribution). Assuming all countries remain the same by way of emissions, the impact of this on the climate is negligible. If other countries were to increase their emissions, then Australia would be in deficit both in terms of environmental and economic impact.
Australia’s politicians are ignoring the benefits and issues with the Paris Agreement
While global aggregate emission levels resulting from NDCs are expected to be higher over the reporting period, their implementation will lead to sizeably lower aggregate global emission levels than in pre-NDC trajectories. Unfortunately, estimated aggregate annual global emission levels resulting from implementation of NDCs do not fall within the scope of least-cost 2°C scenarios by 2025 and 2030 (a key target in the agreement). However, by lowering emissions below pre-NDC trajectories, the NDCs contribute to lowering the expected temperature levels until 2100 and beyond.
Despite these achievements there are significant concerns surrounding the consistency, fairness and compliance with the Paris Agreement. Each country is required to submit its NDC every five years from 2015 to 2030. Based on the 2015 reporting:
- Only 174 countries have submitted their NDCs. Of these submissions 161 were submitted on time. This leaves 22 countries without an NDC.
- There is significant variation in each country’s emission reduction targets – type and number.
- Reporting processes not only vary but are inadequate in terms of specificity, coverage and transparency/comparability.
Australia needs to advocate for improvement to the Paris Agreement and adoption of a standardised emissions reduction target for all countries
Climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution that is fair and equitable. This translates to all countries participating and adhering to a standardised policy framework. There should be one emission target type applied across all countries with calculation based on a ratio of total emissions (total Mt CO2-e) and wealth (nominal GDP). It should not be up to one country like Australia to run down its economy to achieve an aspirational target while others do nothing or worse, continue to increase emissions in the pursuit of economic prosperity. Adopting a standardised approach ensures the policy response is not only effective (at achieving the 2°C cap) but proportionate to who is causing the problem and their capacity to pay.
Friday, May 03, 2019
Australians will head to the polls on May 18 to cast their vote for who will govern the country for the next three years.
- Terry Richardson, ADF President
Friday, April 05, 2019
The dairy industry is in the fight of our lives on a number of fronts. While the drought continues, fodder and water are trading at record or near-record prices.
- Terry Richardson, ADF President