Australia gets a big ZERO on climate policy – is it possible to be that bad?

11 December 2019

Last week ECO exposed the Australian Government’s role in pushing for use of carryover units from the Kyoto Protocol to meet a large portion of their already very low Paris NDC for 2030 €“ ECO likened this to a runner wanting to start a race at the half-way point, rather than at the starting line. That’s obviously not fair or responsible (ECO might say it is even cheating), especially when the race is about stopping catastrophic climate damage.

This week ECO can reveal it’s even worse than that! The Australian government has updated their plans on carryover and is now trying to use it for almost 60% of their NDC, to avoid a whopping 411 million tonnes of carbon abatement. This gets right to the heart of ambition and their genuine commitment to meet responsibilities under the Paris Agreement.

Australia’s strategy in Article 6 negotiations to ensure use of Kyoto carryover is basically a “nothing to see here” strategy. After all, Australia is reportedly the only country admitting that it will use carryover credits to meet its Paris target, and seems to be hoping the issue will just slip by.

But early in week two of COP25, their cover was blown, after the Guardian Australia reported that as many as 100 countries, led by Costa Rica and Belize, formally challenged Australia and called for a ban on the tactic, including text to be inserted into the rulebook.

It’s difficult to think of a more cynical way for a country, especially one with arguably the best renewables potential on earth, to reach an already shamefully low 2030 NDC. That’s why ECO is calling on all countries to weigh in behind Costa Rica and Belize in banning the use of Kyoto units in this way.

Against this backdrop ECO can’t help but report on the results of the annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) €“ the global comparison of 57 countries plus the EU €“released by Germanwatch, New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network at COP25. The CCPI covers countries representing 90% of global climate pollution and makes it clear which countries are leading and which are lagging behind on a range of indicators that relate to greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, renewable energy, and climate policies.  

ECO was shocked to see that on a 100-point scale, the Australian government, which is claiming to be taking meaningful action on climate change, scored a zero (yes that’s right, zero!) on climate policy. By any interpretation, that score indicates a massive failure. This makes it clear why the Australian government is trying so hard to use sneaky carryover credits to meet its international responsibilities.

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