Climate change

Australia is committed to taking strong domestic and international action on climate change. The Government is implementing national policies to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change in the context of coordinated global action.

An historic global climate agreement was agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (30 November to 12 December 2015).

The Paris Agreement sets in place a durable and dynamic framework for all countries to take climate action from 2020, building on existing international efforts in the period up to 2020. Key outcomes include:

  • A global goal to hold average temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep warming below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • All countries to set mitigation targets from 2020 and review targets every 5 years to build ambition over time, informed by a global stocktake.
  • Robust transparency and accountability rules to provide confidence in countries’ actions and track progress towards targets.
  • Promoting action to adapt and build resilience to climate impacts.
  • Financial, technological and capacity building support to help developing countries implement the Agreement.

Ahead of the Paris Conference, countries were invited to submit indicative post-2020 targets, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Targets have been set by almost all Parties to the UNFCCC, including all G20 countries. These targets represent over 96 per cent of global emissions, over 99 per cent of global GDP and 99.8 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade. These targets cover significantly more than the Cancun Agreements (2010), under which around 100 countries made pledges to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Australia has set an ambitious target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which builds on our 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels. Australia’s targets will be achieved through a credible policy suite that is already reducing emissions, encouraging technological innovation and expanding our clean energy sector.

Australia is also supporting international efforts to act on climate change, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. We are delivering practical assistance bilaterally through our aid program and contributions to multilateral funds. At the Paris Conference Prime Minister Turnbull announced that Australia will provide at least $1 billion to build climate change resilience and reduce emissions in developing countries over the next five years. This includes our $200 million commitment over four years to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As Co-Chair of the GCF Board, Australia will help ensure support flows to the Pacific and other vulnerable developing countries.

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Last Updated: 10 July 2014