Is Australia tackling its climate crisis?

After almost a decade of stalling and delaying on climate crisis and action, Australia now has a government that has promised new policies for climate change and has set new emissions reduction targets. This comes after nearly a decade of stalling and delaying on climate action.

The Australian publication media is keeping track of the progress and crisis that has been made in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and recording the effects of the global warming that has already taken place.

The charts that follow provide an in-depth explanation of the situation, addressing topics such as history and expected future emissions, how Australia compares to other countries, the amount of greenhouse gas that the country exports, and the amount of time that remains for Australia to reach zero emissions and fulfill the targets established by the landmark Paris accord.

They have been brought up to date following the publication, on the 25th of August 2023, of the quarterly update of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory.

If Australia continues on its current path, the carbon budget countdown clock will display how much longer it will be before the country has contributed its “fair share” of future greenhouse gas emissions. It is predicated on the pattern of emissions and does not take into account any shifts in the policies of the government.

In the Paris agreement, there are two targets for minimizing the increase in global temperature; they are 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius. Scientists are warning that there is a significant difference in the anticipated damage caused by climate change between a temperature increase of 1.5C and 2C.

This chart offers a different presentation of the information that the countdown clock provides. It does a running tally of the estimated emissions that Australia has produced since 1850 and shows what alternative targets for 2030 mean in terms of remaining within different carbon budgets.

It seems likely that Australia will go past its fair share of an emissions budget in order to avert a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius later on in this decade if it meets the government’s target of 43%.

This figure illustrates the trend of emissions in Australia since 1990, as well as the implications of attaining various objectives under the assumption that reductions will made in linear fashion between now and 2030 or 2050.

It reveals that there was a 0.1% increase in emissions in the year leading up to March 2023, with a continued drop in carbon pollution from electricity generation (down by 3.9%) being essentially negated out by increases in emissions from transport (up by 6.4%) as Covid-19 lockdowns ceased. As a result of higher agricultural production and livestock numbers, agriculture contributed 3.2% more to the overall rise.

According to the most recent inventory, the overall number of emissions has decreased by 24.4% since 2005.

When emissions from LuluCF are taken out of the picture, we see a very different scenario. The graphic that excludes emissions from land use reveals that nearly all of the reduction in national emissions that has occurred since 2005 may be attributed to a decrease in the amount of land that has been cleared for forestry and agricultural purposes.

These alterations crisis were not the result of any national climate legislation, crisis or efforts to reduce emissions. They were the result of decisions made by state governments as well as a general fall in demand for logging in native forests. The cutting of land and the planting of trees are both still going on at substantial scales, although the accounts of greenhouse gases show that they have both decreased since 2005.

Since 2005, emissions from the rest of the economy, which are primarily caused by industries involving fossil fuels, have decreased by only 0.9%. There has been a considerable uptick in the amount of emissions produced by certain sectors of the economy.

Since the previous government was replaced, there has been a rise in both the minimum emissions reduction target for the year 2030 that Australia has set for itself, as well as how it compares to the targets set by other industrialized countries. It continues to lag behind the majority of other countries in the same category.

Illustrating occurrences that have been linked in scholarly articles to the warming of the planet. This list is not comprehensive, and new happenings are always being added to the calendar. The most recent information as of March 2023.

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