Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finding Post 2020 Targets for GHG Emission Reductions

Comparing Countries’ Emissions Targets - A Practical Guide (20 page pdf, Australian Government Climate Change Authority, March 2015)

Also discussed here: Comparing countries’ emissions targets (Australian Government Climate Change Authority, March 2015)

And here: Australia's future emissions reduction targets (43 page pdf, Australian Government Climate Change Authority, April 2015)

Today we review a guide from the Australian government that compares GHG reduction targets from other countries or regions with similar economies (such as the USA and the EU), using four criteria: Capacity, Adequacy, Responsibility and Effort and differences in base year. Australia, (like Canada) has one of the highest per capita emission rates in the world (at 25-27 tonsCO2e/year) as well as a strong economy, governance institutions and advanced technology. It’s unconditional emissions target implies a 32% reduction/capita from 2005 levels by 2025 which is higher relatively than the US or EU. Another significant factor is the cost to make reductions and the capacity of a country’s economy to bear that wither in absolute or relative terms. However, costs are difficult to estimate and may be influenced by actions of other countries as well as the technology used. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for participating countries will be announced in advance of the Paris conference in December 2015. australia post 2020 ghg targets  

Key Quotes:

“1990 is a reasonable point to start in most circumstances. Distant past emissions occurred when their impact was not well understood or foreseen. From 1990, however, there was widespread global recognition of the risks of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UNFCCC was agreed in 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997. Both used 1990 as a baseline for targets.”

“Within the UNFCCC talks, post-2020 targets are known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and will be announced over the course of 2015. All countries are likely to compare their targets with others’, both in deciding what their targets should be, and in the course of negotiating the new global climate agreement”

“Targets are the most common type of emissions reduction goal, and typically state an intended level of emissions (or emissions intensity) in a certain year. Emission budgets, on the other hand, specify a total limit on emissions over a period of time…Because climate change is caused by cumulative global emissions over very long periods of time, budgets can ensure more consistency of action with climate science over time, and demonstrate the trade-offs between early and later action.”

“This guide first discusses how to ensure comparisons are fair, explaining the four central criteria (Capacity, Adequacy, Responsibility and Effort) and how to compare like with like.”

“Australia’s unconditional emissions target of 5 per cent reduction by 2020 from 2000 levels implies a 32 per cent reduction in emissions per person from 2005 levels”

 “A country’s costs may be strongly influenced by action of other countries. Costs are often overestimated due to tendency to underestimate the rate of changes in technology and broader innovation.”

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