A true net-zero emissions plan would include detailed and transparent modelling, enshrined in legislation and combined with an independent legal process to set our short-term targets along the way. That is what the Conservative government has done in Britain, as have our friends in Tasman and increasingly in the Pacific. This failure builds on the coalition`s record of undermining international climate agreements dating back to 1997, when the Howard government first negotiated extraordinarily favorable emissions targets but ultimately refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. A fundamental principle of international law – and arguably the oldest – is “pacta sunt servanda”, which means that “agreements must be respected”. It is essential to the functioning of the global treaty system. There are four crucial promises that Australia made in Paris and has now broken. These were not just handshake agreements, it is international law. The Morrison government has shown that it simply does not do what it says on the world stage. Australia`s planned NDC, released by the federal government in August 2015 prior to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, committed Australia to implementing a “macroeconomic target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030”. However, Australia has limited its objectives by reserving the right to adjust its objective “in the event that the rules and other arrangements underlying the agreement deviate in a way that materially affects the definition of our objective”. Australia has not committed to climate neutrality for the second half of this century. Thom Woodroofe worked as a diplomatic adviser in the Negotiations on the Paris Agreement With the events of last week, the Morrison government has shown that it is simply not doing what it says on the world stage. Our climate indifference is not only ruthless to our economy, our environment and our people.
It is also reckless for our diplomacy, as Morrison`s visit to Glasgow will surely show now. Here in the Pacific, Australia has most sensationally broken a third promise of the Paris Agreement: to channel our climate finance through a single global mechanism into the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to make it easier for those on the front lines of this climate crisis. After following the Trump administration out of the door of the GCF, we still have to come back with our tails between our legs, which means that we are effectively isolated among the major donor countries. The zero-emission schedule for the energy sector described in Finkel magazine – in the second half of this century – is much slower and later than is compatible with the Paris Agreement. A linear continuation of the emission reduction trajectory for the minimum electricity sector would achieve zero emissions by 2070, about 30 years later than required by the Paris Agreement (around 2040) and about 20 years later, which would be below the lower limit of 2°C (around 2050). Six years ago, I was one of hundreds of official delegates standing in a temporary UN plenary room at Le Bourget when the Paris Agreement was adopted after years of negotiations. In December 2015, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the Paris Agreement: a historic agreement to combat climate change and take action to move their economies towards a sustainable, low-carbon future. Hewson said he found that Australia needed to effectively double its 2030 target to do its part to meet the Goals of the Paris Agreement (expressed as keeping the average global temperature rise since pre-industrial times well below 2°C and continue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C). First and foremost, Australia agreed that every country should return to the COP26 table to ensure that the short-term goals set for this decade were “the highest possible goal”. That`s what Glasgow is, and more than 100 countries have made new commitments for 2030 in advance, including the United States, which we initially set as a benchmark for our own ambitions.
“Anything below a 50 percent reduction in levels from 2005 to 2030 is the task of the Paris Agreement,” Hewson said. This means that Australia is undermining the international treaty that is at the heart of the fight against climate change – and once again highlighting the need to incorporate Australian climate agreements into national law. Unfortunately, my own country has now shown that it is ready to break both the letter and the spirit of the agreement it has signed. This is particularly annoying given the extent to which Australia has been in Paris to ally with those fighting for the strongest deal possible. .