Australia: government fractures weakened its Paris Agreement Commitment


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Australia, signatory of Paris Agreement on climate change, is one of the largest carbon emitters per capita because of its reliance on coal-fired power plants. To demonstrate its climate commitment, there are requirements in Australia National Energy Guarantee (NEG) plan that would have mandated that greenhouse emissions from its power industry decrease by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It was a centerpiece energy policy of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which unfortunately have been stripped by Mr Turnbull himself in the face of political opposition.

Australia's NEG was supposed to end a decade of infighting about how Australia could boost power reliability while reducing carbon emissions. But by requiring Australia's electricity sector to reduce emissions by 26 percent, old wounds were reopened which split the government along ideological grounds. Conservatives argue that it would put Australia at an economic disadvantage after the United States withdrew from the Paris accord in 2017, which was resonated with rural voters, a key electorate for Turnbull.

Turnbull's move may relieve immediate pressure, but "the stakes are too high for partisan and personal politics to spoil this opportunity to move energy policy into the 21st century," said Andrew Richards, chief executive officer at the Energy Users Association of Australia.

Trump Administration announced the drop of US from Paris Agreement, and now Australia dumped its own target. Neither looks good before COP 24 in Poland when member states are expected to negotiate and increase ambition levels on e.g. greenhouse gas emission reduction. Association 3 Herissons will keep an eye on the development.

For more details, please refer to the original Reuters report.