In August 2020, a forum made up of the economic, agricultural, investment, trade union, social protection and environmental sectors issued an extraordinary statement calling on the government to set a net-zero emissions target by 2050. A recent June 2020 survey found that 70% of Australians expect the government to protect the environment as part of economic recovery efforts. Another poll found that 72% of Australians see the bushfires from November 2019 to January 2020 as a wake-up call about the effects of climate change, with 73% agreeing that the prime minister should be a leader on climate action. A federal commitment to zero emissions and a coherent Paris Agreement target for 2030, as well as a renewable energy target beyond 2020, are needed to ensure a coherent federal framework for a rapid transition to a carbon-free future. The government has appointed key stakeholders in fossil fuels and mining to its COVID-19 Commission National Advisory Board, including a member of Saudi Aramco`s Board of Directors. Not surprisingly, the Commission supports gas recovery and recommends that the government sign pipelines and increase both domestic gas supply and subsidies for gas-fired electricity generation. The government has ignored the possibilities of a green recovery, in particular an accelerated transition to renewable energy. The Commonwealth Government has pledged A$213.6 billion to address the economic consequences of the pandemic by providing funds to welfare recipients and providing wage subsidies to businesses. Economic funds are not geared towards a green recovery. Both the EU and its Member States are individually responsible for ratifying the Paris Agreement. It has been reported that the EU and its 28 Member States deposit their instruments of ratification at the same time to ensure that neither the EU nor its Member States commit to commitments that belong strictly to each other, and there have been fears that disagreement over each Member State`s share of the EU-wide reduction target, as well as the British vote to leave the EU may delay the Paris Pact.  However, the European Parliament approved the 4th. The ratification of the Paris Agreement in October 2016 and the EU deposited its instruments of ratification on 5 October 2016 with several EU Member States. The response to the COVID pandemic has intensified the debate on how to combine economic recovery with climate ambitions, even though economic setbacks have been less severe than in other parts of the world. The federal government has focused on protecting the incomes of individuals and businesses, while largely ignoring the significant potential benefits of green incentives. Trading partners – China, South Korea and Japan, for example – set net-zero targets for the middle of the century, and the future of Australia`s carbon-intensive exports looks bleak. Hewson said he believes Australia must effectively double its 2030 target to make its contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement (expressed as keeping the average global temperature rise since pre-industrial times well below 2°C and continue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C). The carbon budget approach is to estimate the total amount that Australia could reasonably emit before reaching net zero under a global climate agreement in which each country has played its part. No federal government – neither coalition nor laboratory – has enshrined Australia`s emission reduction targets in law. More recently, in 2018, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attempted to do so as part of the proposed National Energy Guarantee. Internal tensions within the party forced him to abandon this legislative plan – but not soon enough to prevent him from being abandoned as leader. We expect greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2020 to be 10% to 11% lower than in 2019, with an economic slowdown expected to be 8% to 9%.
The two previous lockdown periods in parts of Australia have temporarily reduced road user activity and traffic emissions. In April 2020, oil consumption fell by 12.7% compared to April 2019. Containment measures did not have a significant impact on emissions from the electricity sector during the first wave of the pandemic, as mining and mineral processing continued. Six years ago, I was one of hundreds of official delegates standing in a temporary UN plenary room at Le Bourget when the Paris Agreement was adopted after years of negotiations. A fundamental principle of international law – and arguably the oldest – is “pacta sunt servanda”, which means that “agreements must be respected”. It is essential to the functioning of the global treaty system. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that addresses mitigation, adaptation to greenhouse gas emissions and financing from 2020 onwards. The agreement aims to address the global threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature increase this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and making efforts to further limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. There is also a stick for our carrot incentives for a net-zero transition – exporting carbon-intensive resources is a critical part of the Australian economy, and Australia`s exported carbon potential for fossil fuels is more than double total domestic emissions. Here in the Pacific, Australia has sensationally violated a third promise of the Paris Agreement: to channel our climate finance through a single global mechanism into the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to make it easier for those at the forefront of this climate crisis. After following the Trump administration out of the door of the GCF, we still have to come back with our tails between our legs, which means that we are effectively isolated among the major donor countries. .