Binding emissions reductions targets

The world’s foremost authority on climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change, has determined that humanity faces a grave threat if we fail to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. To achieve this, all countries must commit to reduce their emissions. According to Australia’s Climate Council:

  • by 2030, global emissions must be down by at least 45% from 2010 levels to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C
  • if greenhouse gas pollution continues at the present rate, human-driven warming will exceed 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052
  • the Australian government has committed to reduce our greenhouse gas pollution levels by 26-28% by 2030 (based on 2005 levels). We are not on track to achieve this woefully inadequate target
  • without accelerating and concerted action by all nations, particularly significant polluters like Australia, it is unlikely that we will stay below the 1.5°C limit

A 1.5°C increase in global average temperatures would condemn our children and grandchildren and the natural world to devastating climate impacts.

It should be noted that the IPCC has been consistently criticised for developing recommendations that are both too conservative and outdated by the rate and intensity of climate change impacts.

One of the most effective means by which governments can achieve the emissions reductions required to avoid massive loss of life is by legislating binding emissions reductions targets.

In the Northern Territory, like the Henderson Government before it, the Gunner Government has announced an ‘aspirational’ emissions reductions target of 50% by 2050. Given its plans to allow the gas industry to dramatically increase NT emissions over the coming decade, a non-binding target clearly passes responsibility to future governments. Experience shows that governments (including the current one) comprehensively fail to meet targets voluntarily.

Many countries around the world have national climate framework legislation. It is urgent that the Territory and the Commonwealth adopt legislated emissions reductions targets. With a host of community and environment groups, Climate Action Darwin calls on the NT and commonwealth governments to legislate targets of net zero by 2050. Both targets require incremental targets starting in 2022 and ministerial responsibility for each portfolio.

What you can do:

  • lobby our representatives in Canberra to support the Climate Bill of Zali Stegall MP before the national parliament
  • lobby your local NT MLA to legislate the NT Government’s aspirational target. Please contact Climate Action Darwin for advice and support

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