May 6, 2022

Editorial

Commentary

Party climate policies analysed

Bill Hare and Victor Maxwell  of Climate Analytics analyse the impact – or lack of impact – the parties’ climate policies would have.  

They say: Ahead of the upcoming Australian elections, Climate Analytics has analysed the global warming implications of the 2030 climate targets of the political parties and independents: the LNP, the Labor Party (ALP), the Teal Independents (the Zali Steggall Bill), and the Greens. 

The results are stark, showing the LNP targets are consistent with 3˚C of global warming (bordering on 4˚C), the ALP’s target is consistent with 2˚C, and the Teal Independents and Greens consistent with 1.5˚C of warming. 

The LNP climate commitment of a 26-28% emissions reduction by 2030 is consistent with a warming of 3˚C globally, bordering on 4˚C. 

Under this level of warming, the Great Barrier Reef and all other tropical reefs would be destroyed. At the global level the most extreme heat events could be 5-6 times more frequent than in recent decades and in Australia the highest maximum temperatures about 3˚C hotter. In other words,an intense heat event that might have occurred once in a decade in recent decades could occur almost every year, and be substantially hotter. 

The ALP’s 2030 target of a 43% emissions reduction is consistent with 2˚C of warming globally.  

Under this level of warming, if sustained, the Great Barrier Reef would very likely be destroyed, along with all other tropical reefs in Australia and elsewhere. At the global level the most extreme heat events could be about three times more frequent than in recent decades, and in Australia the highest maximum temperatures about 1.7 ˚C hotter.  

In other words, an intense heat event that might have might have occurred once in a decade in recent decades could occur about every three years and would be significantly hotter.  

The Greens’ target of a 74% emissions reduction by 2030 is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. Under this level of warming some regions of the Great Barrier Reef and other tropical reefs around Australia, including Ningaloo, would survive. At the global level the most extreme heat events could be nearly twice as frequent than in recent decades and in Australia the highest maximum temperatures about 1.1˚C hotter.  

In other words, an intense heat event that might have might have occurred once in a decade in recent decades could occur about every three years and would be significantly hotter. 

The Teal Independents have rallied around the Zali Steggall Climate Bill, which contains a target of a 60% emissions reduction by 2030.  

This is close to, but within, the upper boundary of modelled 1.5˚C pathways for Australia. A stronger target would give a higher probability of meeting the 1.5˚C limit, but it is still within a 1.5˚C pathway.Under this warming some areas of the Great Barrier Reef and other Australian tropical reefs, including Ningaloo, would survive.

At the global level the most extreme heat events could be nearly twice as frequent than in recent decades and in Australia the highest max temperatures about 1.1˚C hotter. 

Climate Analytics is a non-profit institute leading research on climate science and policy in relation to the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement. It has offices in Germany, the United States, Togo, Australia,Nepal and Trinidad and Tobago.