Climate Change Authority chair Bernie Fraser.

27 February 2014 — In what is likely to be the Climate Change Authority’s last report to the federal government, the body has recommended Australia boost its emissions reduction target to 19 per cent, up from 5 per cent, if it is to make a fair contribution to tackling climate change.

In releasing its final report on Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, CCA chair Bernie Fraser said that the adoption of the revised target “would constitute a responsible response by Australia at this time to the challenges of climate change”.

Mr Fraser said the world’s two superpowers, the US and China, were stepping up efforts to reduce emissions, leaving Australia’s current target lacking by global standards.

He said an emissions reduction target of 15 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020, plus four per cent that could be contributed from credits accrued from exceeding Australia’s target under the Kyoto Protocol, would be a “credible response”.

The Authority also recommended this target be increased to between 40-60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2030.

The report suggested that government should consider bringing in tighter emissions standards for vehicles, a sentiment echoed in a recent ClimateWorks paper.

It also said Australia needed to be mindful of being competitive in a low carbon global economy, and to develop programs that reduce domestic emissions and assist the structural transformation of the Australian economy.

The Authority said the purchase of international abatement units was another means the government could pursue in the interim, noting that the international price was at a low and the target could be reached for between $210-850 million through this means.

The government has drafted legislation to dismantle the Climate Change Authority, which it hopes to pass when the new Senate sits from July.