With the recent passing of the Clean Energy Future legislation, our Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet has arrived into town talking up the benefits of carbon markets.
The legislation establishes a fixed price on carbon pollution from July 1 2012 before moving to an emissions trading system in 2015 and will cover Australia’s 500 biggest polluters. As a historic first step for Australia in tackling climate change, the legislation now means we have a credible domestic policy that can get us to our inadequate 5% target. However, as the recent Climate Action Tracker report shows, the 5% target, as part of our fair share, is not enough to limit warming to below 2 degrees.
In Durban, Minister Combet is meeting with countries, who have or will have carbon markets in place – EU, New Zealand, China, South Korea to name a few. Today Minister Combet, and New Zealand Minister for International Climate Change Negotiations, Tim Groser, released further plans to link Australia’s and New Zealand’s emissions trading schemes.
Whilst, the establishing and linking of carbon markets is a good form of low cost mitigation, there is still an urgent need to focus on the bigger picture issues here in Durban including a scaling up of mitigation pledges and agreeing on a timeframe for emissions to peak. With out these, it is unlikely the world will limit warming to the below 2 degree target let alone the 1.5 degree target demanded by AOSIS and LDCs.
As one of the key players in discussions around climate finance at Cancun, Minister Combet can also play an influential in the finance track and negotiations around the Green Climate Fund. Specifically, Australia can exercise some middle power diplomacy and as member of the Umbrella group, a key negotiating block that includes the USA, help ensure the Green Climate Fund gets up and running in 2012.
I’m also blogging on our sister site, A Climate for Change (www.aclimateforchange.org) where you read more of my work…
About the authorClancy Moore
Clancy Moore is Australia's UN Climate Tracker for 2011. He currently works for Oxfam as a Campaigner, lecturers in sustainability and is a facilitator of social change. He has also worked on advocacy projects in the Solomon Islands and North East Brazil. You can read more of Clancy's work at A Climate for Change.