Australia at COP27 Diary

UN climate conference, the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) is ocurring in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt from Monday November 6 to Friday November 18, 2022 (but may also go overtime into the weekend). This is my digital diary of Australia at COP27. I have attended four previous COPs, but I will be following whats going on at COP27 online. Follow with me. I’ll be updating this blog post regularly over October-November 2022.

UNFCCC COP27 main website. Civil Society have organised the COP27 Coalition.

20 September – Victoria over-achieves 2020 climate target

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announces over-achievement in emissions reduction, with emissions falling to almost 30 per cent below 2005 levels in 2020 – almost doubling the target of a 15 to 20 per cent reduction. . Media Release 

Friends of the Earth’s initial analysis of Victoria’s latest greenhouse gas performance data finds: Victoria cut emissions by 29.8% on 2005 levels by 2020. Energy sector saw deep cuts, with 5.8% increase in renewable energy production between 2019-20. Victoria’s native forests continue to act as a crucial carbon sink, sequestering a quarter of Victoria’s emissions in 2019-20. Accentuates the need for the Victorian government to bring forward 2030 end to native logging. Transport sector is the second-largest source of emissions with transport emissions slightly rising in 2020, despite the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Victorian government is on track to significantly exceed its Emissions Reduction Target of a 45-50 percent cut (below 2005 levels) by 2030.  On the straight-line trajectory, Victoria would achieve a 54 percent emissions reduction by 2025 and 79 percent reduction by 2030. These emissions reductions represent a new baseline. The legislated target of net-zero emissions by 2050 could be achieved in mid-2034 on this trajectory — over 16 years ahead of schedule. This means Victoria’s emissions reduction would be inline with a 1.5°C carbon budget. FoE Analysis | Victorian Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Loss and Damage Finance: Denmark becomes first nation to pledge Loss and Damage finance. Over 400 civil society organisation are demanding Loss and Damage is on the agenda at COP27. Adaptation finance is also an important issue argues a Nature Editorial (30 Aug). Egypt has previously flagged that climate finance will be a top agenda item at COP27 (23 May)

Fortescue Metals Group commits to decarbonise Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. Andrew Forrest committed his Iron Ore mining company to spend $9.2bn on wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen to reach net zero by 2030. Move will eliminate fossil fuel risk from across Fortescue Metals’ iron ore operations by 2030 and cut operating costs by $A1.2 billion per year, and a relatively quick payback by 2034. Renew Economy reports.

Safeguard mechanism is currently being reviewed to be reformed. Emissions from Australia’s oil and gas industry rose 20% in first five years of safeguard mechanism reports the Guardian. Free carbon credits could threaten Australia’s emission reduction targets, warns RepuTex who did Labor’s modelling for climate policies. They say safeguard mechanism could hand free credits to big industrial polluters and lock in fossil fuel production, reports the Guardian.

19 September – Australia negotiating to hold a future COP

Australia’s new Labor Government pushing to host a UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in 2024 or later reports Adam Morton at The Guardian.

15 September – Australia underfunding climate finance

The Oxfam/Action Aid report highlights that Australia’s international climate funding is currently just a tenth of our international fair share. Australia’s fair share of international commitments is AUD$4 billion per year; however, our average contributions sit at only AUD$400 million per year over the period 2020-2025. Report calls for: Australia to immediately increase climate finance commitments to AUD $3 billion over 2020-25 ahead of the next global climate meeting, COP27 in Egypt in November; Fulfil our fair share of the USD $100b (AUD $4b annually in new and additional funding) and honour our existing commitments by 2025; Support the call from Pacific nations to establish a dedicated fund for a loss and damage finance facility at COP27.  Action Aid | Guardian report

14 September: Minister Bowen adds 3 new board members to Climate Change Authority adding to the present 6 existing business friendly board members. Guardian report

13 September: Climate Council releases action plan to achieve 75% cut by 2030

The Power Up: 10 Climate Gamechangers report provides a practical roadmap for the Federal Government to speed up its climate action in the 2020s, to ensure Australia well overshoots the 43% emissions reduction target. WMO releases United in Science report highlighting that global emissions still rising, climate impacts are accelerating.

12 September – Egypt: Government Undermining Environmental Groups

Reports coming out of Egypt say civil society NGOs being restricted, with requests for Countries to Press Cairo to End Restrictions, Enable Participation. Human Rights Watch asserts that Egyptian Authorities Fail to Respond to Central Human Rights Report Findings. See Guardian report 24 Aug.

9 September – New research: Risk of passing multiple climate tipping points escalates above 1.5°C global warming. “Even at current levels of global heating the world is already at risk of passing five dangerous climate tipping points, and risks increase with each tenth of a degree of further warming. An international research team synthesised evidence for tipping points, their temperature thresholds, timescales, and impacts from a comprehensive review of over 200 papers published since 2008, when climate tipping points were first rigorously defined.” Potsdam Institute Media Release. Science research article.

8 September – Australia’s new 43% emissions target by 2030 enshrined in law

Australia’s climate bill passes the Senate with several minor cross bench amnedments by David Pocock. It enshrines new 2030 climate target in legislation of 43 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 on 2005 levels, as a floor for action. ABC report. The government must now report annually on its progress towards that goal. Climate Change Authority has also been made responsible for advising on future goals, including the government’s 2035 emissions target. 

Senate refers the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Climate Trigger) Bill 2022 [No. 2] to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 28 February 2023.  Submissions close 13th October 2022.

19 July – State of the Environment Report confirms shocking decline in ecosystems

Scientific Report confirms the health of Australia’s environment is poor and has deteriorated over the past five years due to pressures of climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and mining. The report was delayed release by Morrison Environment Minister Sussan Ley until after the election. Guardian report | State of the Environment Report 

23 June – Global methane pledge under serious consideration

Australia’s resources minister, Madeleine King, confirmed the new government was considering signing the global methane pledge to cut methane emissions 30% by 2030. Guardian report. Pushback the following day from National Farmers Federation. Guardian report. Read Background: Global Methane Pledge aims for 30 percent methane emissions cut from 2020 levels by 2030

16 June – New climate targets registered with UNFCCC

New Australian PM Anthony Albanese submits a letter advising of new climate targets of 43% by 2030 which is followed by an NDC update (PDF) to the UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) registry. 

23 May – Climate election and new Labor Government

Labor Government elected with a two seat majority but with a strengthened Greens and climate community independent crossbench in the House of Representatives. Greens increase representation in Seante to 12, climate independent David Pocock elected for ACT, Jackie Lambie Network gains second senator. Australia votes for climate action in 2022 Federal election


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