Short term ambition: 2030 targets for the US and Australia

by Hannah Melville-Rea and Alia Armistead

The US is expected to commit to halving its emissions by 2030, based on 2005 levels. In other words, they will reduce emissions by 43% from today’s levels in the next decade, despite plans for massive COVID-19 economic stimulus. The new US climate target will abate 5.2 billion tonnes of CO2 and be a significant departure from their previously climate goals that mirrored Australia’s targets.

Australian and US current emissions trajectories vs halving by 2030

For Australia to match US ambition and have any hope of reaching net-zero emissions, the country would need to commit to a 2030 target of at least 50% emissions reduction on 2005 levels. This would be an additional 42% reduction on today’s levels.

Benefits will include:
• Preventing 875Mt, equivalent to almost two years of Australian current annual emissions from ever being emitted;
• Lower 2030 emissions will make reaching net-zero emissions a more achievable goal and a smoother trajectory, regardless of the timeframe;
• The transition to net-zero will be less disruptive and more likely to capture new economic and employment opportunities.

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