Australia, despite moving up two places, remains in the bottom 10 in this year’s CCPI, at 54th, with an overall very low performance.
The country receives very low ratings in three of the four CCPI categories: GHG Emissions, Energy Use, and Climate Policy, and a low rating in Renewable Energy. Despite positive tendencies in the trend indicators, with a growing share of Renewable Energy in Energy Use and an overall decrease in the per capita Energy Use, as well as in the per capita GHG emissions indicator, current levels and future targets across all categories are not on track with a well-below-2°C pathway. Together with the United States, Australia holds last place for its climate policy evaluation.
Local experts emphasise the lack of climate performance and give a very low rating to Australia’s national and international climate policy efforts. This assessment is primarily true for the climate policy developments at the national level, with experts crediting positive developments at the sub-national level, especially in renewable energy. At the national level, however, they highlight several problematic aspects in the recently released Technology Investment Roadmap, which the national government presents as the cornerstone of Australia’s long-term climate strategy. The Roadmap supports the development of five low-emission technologies, including hydrogen (developed with gas) and carbon capture and storage (which can be applied to fossil fuel projects). The national government will also redirect key clean energy agencies away from renewables and make them ‘technology-neutral’, weakening existing renewable energy support. Moreover, experts mention the lack of a renewable energy target after 2020, no plan to phase-out coal, and a gas-reliant COVID-19 recovery plan. Experts’ evaluation also notes Australia’s regressive role on the international stage, as the country stopped contributing to the Green Climate Fund and hampered the negotiation process at COP25 to ensure the use of Kyoto carry-overs to achieve its NDC targets.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Suzanne Harter & Gavan McFadzean (Australian Conservation Foundation), Graeme McLeay & Dr. John Iser (Doctors for the Environment Australia), Richie Merzian (The Australian Institute)