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Australia Will Miss Its Paris Agreement Commitment by 1 Billion Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide

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The Paris agreement saw leaders from around the world agree to take unified action to slow the warming of the planet. It is of the utmost importance that nations commit to achieving their Paris agreement targets. Improving the environment gives people the opportunity to survive and thrive in a world free of extreme poverty. Taking action to address climate change is critical to this. Take action here.

Despite assurances from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Coalition cabinet that Australia will undeniably reach its Paris climate agreement target, a new report from private consultant NDEVR Environmental reveals the nation will, in fact, exceed its emissions requirement by nearly 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In its latest report, NDEVR revealed Australia increased its use of greenhouse gas emissions for the third consecutive year. The private firm, which provides a comprehensive review of Australia’s emissions activity in lieu of insufficient government statistics, also announced the nation is unquestionably on track to further top its emissions levels record next year.

Take Action: Call on new Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work towards a better Australia.

"Australia’s total emissions, excluding land use, were the highest on record for the 2018 financial year,” the report announced. “Transport emissions were the highest on record and can be attributed to the rise in Australia’s diesel fuel consumption. Emissions from stationary energy, transport, and fugitives similarly continue to trend steeply upward.”

The report does, however, offer a glimmer of hope. A drop in emissions within the electricity sector was recorded for the final quarter of the 2018 financial year, thanks, in part, to a nationwide increase in electricity from renewables.

Australia’s progress on the Paris climate change targets has long proved to be a hot topic of debate between environmental experts and political leaders. Despite the NDEVR reported drop in emissions within the energy sector coinciding with various other reports, the big picture impact of such findings has varied significantly.

In total juxtaposition of the NDEVR data, a report released from the Australian National University revealed renewable solar and wind technology could provide 100% of the nations power needs by 2030 and allow Australia to meet its Paris targets.

"Renewable energy is like a train coming down the track towards us and this will transform the energy sector in the next decade or two,” Professor Ken Baldwin from the the University Energy Change Institute told Triple J Hack. “If it continues going the way it is at the moment, then the electricity sector will do the job for the entire economy by 2025 — that is, it will reduce 26% of emissions across the entire economy well before the 2030 deadline of the Paris target.”

Despite opposing reports and opinions, Matt Drum, the managing director of NDEVR Environmental, remains steadfast that Australia will fail to meet its Paris Agreement targets and keep warming well below 2 degrees. 

"Tracking the Paris trend line, Australia is still heading north and missing Paris by a long way and our 2050 2-degree target by an even greater margin,” he told the Guardian Australia, before claiming Australia hasn't had a working climate policy in a decade and that the Coalition is hoping to kill off the nation’s current renewable energy target.

"The data’s telling us clearly again that we’re not on a trajectory to meet our targets, there’s no effective policy to meet our targets, but we’re still hearing commentary that we’re on track to meet our targets,” he stated.

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In 2015, Australia signed up to the Paris agreement, which saw 200 countries pledge their support to shift toward a “low-emissions, climate-resilient path” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2030. 

Australia has witnessed mounting emissions levels since 2014, when the carbon tax on the nation's biggest polluters was scrapped. Last month, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull abandoned plans to legislate the Paris climate change targets through the National Energy Guarantee in a failed bid to save his leadership.

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In the days following his appointment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the National Energy Guarantee was "dead".