'Snub': Australia leaves 2030 climate goals unchanged in UN submission

A close up photograph of a double exhaust pipe on a vehicle.
4 January 2021

Australia has resubmitted its Paris climate goal and modified its target as "a floor" that can be met without using credits from the previous accord, but has omitted any indication it will join other nations in raising its ambition.

In its first update in five years to the so-called nationally determined contribution (NDC), the federal government defended its unchanged plan to cut 2005-level emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 as an "ambitious, fair and responsible" effort to keep global average temperature rises to below two degrees.

"The target is a floor on Australia’s ambition," the statement, released to the United Nations without any media release, said. "We are aiming to over-achieve on this target and newly released emissions projections show Australia is on track to meet and beat our 2030 target without relying on past over-achievement."

Australia was one of dozens of countries to submit updated NDCs late in 2020. Most of the country's biggest trading partners have set targets for reaching net-zero, and some of them - including the United Kingdom, the European Union and South Korea - have also lately lifted their previous 2030 goals.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring commentary by Prof Frank Jotzo