Australia’s lack of Climate Actions (2021)

Published On: July 3, 2021

Pressure on the Morrison Government is growing as the top US diplomat in Australia says both countries need "more ambitious climate goals.

The Carbon Action Tracker summary for Australia.

  • Australia has not implemented an effective climate policy
  • The Australian government has initiated a gas-led recovery rather than a green recovery
  • Shown no intention of updating its Paris Agreement target nor adopting a net-zero emissions target
  • Focusing on what it calls a “technology neutral” approach, which is contradicted by its focus on gas
  • Renewable energy investments have dropped to 2017 levels
  • Lack of climate action, despite rising climate impacts such as the catastrophic bushfires that enveloped several states in late 2019 and early 2020
  • CAT rates Australia’s Paris Agreement target as “Insufficient”


The Washington Post: Sworn in on June 22, Australia’s new deputy prime minister, described as a “climate change skeptic” by Reuters, is expected to make even the nation’s already loose commitment to net zero emissions more difficult. Barnaby Joyce, who served as deputy prime minister from 2016 to 2018 before resigning after an extramarital-affair scandal, was seated after a leadership revolt in the coalition government’s minor party.

Joyce has previously said he was willing to vote against policies that would cause job loss because of higher climate standards. He joins Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whom Australians have rebuked for his conservative environmental policies.

Australia stopped short in April of committing to net zero emissions. Instead, Morrison said that Australia wants to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible — “preferably” by 2050, he said.

Even this seemingly small concession was seen by some in Australia as a major step forward. Morrison is famous for waving a lump of coal before Parliament in 2017, when he was still a lawmaker.

“This is coal. This is coal. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be scared! Won’t hurt you. Won’t hurt you,” Morrison said, adding that “affordable energy is what Australian businesses need to remain competitive.”

In “stark contrast” to federal policy, Donna Green, a professor of climate change at the University of New South Wales, said that some Australian states have paved their own clean-energy path, heavily investing in “the inevitable transition to a renewable-energy future.”

She named, for example, the upcoming construction of the world’s largest battery for energy storage in New South Wales. In November, New South Wales passed an energy bill that included plans to build 12 gigawatts of clean energy — a capacity that compares to the nation’s entire existing large-scale renewable-energy capacity, the Guardian reported, adding that the state move further isolates the federal government on fossil fuels.


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