Australia’s -0.5% commitment

Australia made one of the few major moves in Doha – well, if you consider 5% or 0.5% “major”. Numbers aside, joining the EU with a commitment (QELRO in climate-speak) for the next period was a welcome move. That the reduction is 0.5% below 1990 levels, is what raised some queries nonetheless (for a funny take on -0.5%, watch this video by climate activists).. And that it is with existing land use rules and carrying over units. The -0.5% is a straight line drawn to its 2020 target of 5% below 2000 levels. Achieving the national target might be easy (see Andrew MacIntosh from ANU on this) due to a substantial surplus of emissions units from undershooting

Australia’s target for the 1st commitment period, and from accounting for forest management activities. Frank Jotzo argues that the uncertainty in land-based emissions are such that it might be better to take a two-track target, one a headline target and a second, separate pledge to reduce emissions from land-based activities.  Australia has left open the possibility of moving to more ambitious (or should that be less unambitous) targets of 15% or 25%. The conditions that the Australian set for moving to 15% have been met, even according to some government analysis.  Now, the next possibility for moving up is under the KP review mechanism, or by a recommendation by its Climate Change Commission in 2014.