Australia’s NDC indicates a 43% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, including LULUCF, which translates into a 28% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 or a 2030 emissions level of 380 MtCO₂e/yr, excluding LULUCF. The target is not in line with a 1.5°C compatible pathway, which would require domestic emissions to be reduced to 229-286 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 or 46-56% below 2005 levels (excl. LULUCF). When including LULUCF, Australia’s emissions would need to decline at about 57-67% below 2005 levels by 2030.
The 1.5°C pathway shown here is consistent with the Climate Action Tracker’s 2020 assessment of a bottom-up Paris Agreement compatible pathway for Australia, which requires an emissions reduction of about 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).
The Climate Change Bill , passed in September 2022, is indicative of the change in the Australian government’s overall stance on climate and energy matters. However, in order to achieve significant emissions reductions, let alone 1.5°C compatibility, the government would need to implement stable and effective climate policy. This should be kept in mind as the Labor government seeks to reform existing federal climate policy such as the Safeguard Mechanism.
Australia’s overall fair share contribution to reducing global GHG emissions in line with the Paris Agreement would require a 60% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, including LULUCF.,
Long term pathway
The Australian government committed to a reaching net zero emissions by 2050 in October 2021 and was enshrined in law under the Climate Change Bill, passed in September 2022.,
To be on a 1.5°C compatible pathway, Australia would need to roughly halve its GHG emissions, excluding LULUCF, by 2030, and achieve an 84-94% reduction below 2005 levels by 2050. The Climate Action Tracker’s 2020 assessment of a Paris Agreement compatible pathway for Australia showed emission reductions of about 90% below 2005 levels by 2050, excluding LULUCF.
To reach net zero GHG emissions in 2050 under the 1.5°C compatible pathways assessed here, Australia would need to deploy removals to balance residual GHG emissions, principally from agriculture.
The government’s current emissions reduction plans rely heavily on offsetting through carbon credits. Serious integrity issues with these credits could undermine the government’s ability to realise their net zero targets.,
Australia’s net emissions decreased by 18% in 2005-2020 almost entirely as a result of the LULUCF sector change from an emissions source to sink. The government projects that the sector will continue to act as a sink through to 2030, declining by around 37% in 2020-2030, reaching around -26 MtCO₂.