After plenty of consternation, a previous failed attempt and monumental public pressure, the leaders of 196 nations signed the Paris Agreement in December sealing a global commitment to tackle climate change.
World leaders have committed their nations to keeping temperatures “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”
This really is a landmark agreement that is both encouraging and challenging. It is a time to celebrate, but also a time to be rolling up sleeves, because fulfilling the commitment will take considerable effort.
Given that the individual pledges currently offered by the signatory countries will only combine to limit temperature rise to 2.7°C, there is still plenty of work to align the pledges with the overall commitment. Australia is no exception. We will need to find bigger cuts to our carbon emissions than the current reduction targets of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, if we are to contribute our fair share and move up from third last on the Climate Change Performance Index.