Greg Hunt says emissions targets must be increased to meet 2°C goal

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Greg Hunt has conceded that world’s current emissions reduction pledges – including Australia’s, presumably – are not ambitious enough to limit global warming to 2°C.

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greg-huntAustralia’s federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, has conceded that world’s current emissions reduction pledges – including Australia’s, presumably – are not ambitious enough to limit global warming to 2°C; the outermost increase in global temperature that science says could avert catastrophic climate change.

Of course, this may appear to many to be a statement of the bleeding obvious, but for Hunt, it is a statement he might never have uttered, but for the change in leadership that arrived with Malcolm Turnbull.

Hunt made the comments in his speech to the National Pres Club on Wednesdaty – a speech in which he also declared the clinching a global deal in Paris to keep global warming below 2°C as a “deeply personal goal.”

The new look environment minister described COP21 – which begins in Paris this coming Monday – as “arguably the most highly anticipated global climate meeting since the failure at Copenhagen. And for good reason.”

Hunt continued: “We know that we are not yet on track for the global goal of keeping temperature rises to less than two degrees.

“This is why Paris is so important. We want it to provide a framework for nations to review and increase their ambitions to achieve that outcome.”

Hunt then outlined what he hoped for in a new global agreement, including all countries making emissions reduction commitments that can increase in ambition over time; countries reviewing their commitments every five years; and all countries reporting on their emissions and progress towards their targets.

This is a welcome change in rhetoric from a minister who, under the leadership of Tony Abbott, dismissed the policy recommendations of the Climate Change Authority – a 30 per cent cut in emissions by 2025 and 40-60 per cent by 2030 – as “staggering”.

The new Hunt says things like climate change “inaction is simply not an option. We all know this.” – Indeed, we do.

He is also keen to talk about Australia’s leading role in soil carbon:

“While in Paris, I will also be joining the French government and others to launch a new international partnership on soil carbon. Australia is a world leader in this area,” Hunt said in his speech.

“We are one of the first to include soil carbon in our national greenhouse accounts and already have nearly eight million tonnes of soil carbon projects contracted under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

“Australia is similarly leading the way on bushfire management and bushfire prevention practices, including Indigenous land management projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund,” he said.

“Australia has been working with the United Nations University to assess the potential for emissions reduction through fire management in other countries and we will release outcomes of this work in Paris.”

Rainforest recovery, Hunt added, was is another area where Australia was leading the world – as well as being “another deep, personal passion” of his own.

“In Paris, Australia will help lead the push to expand our Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Programme with a global rainforest initiative,” he said.

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9 Comments
  1. Geoff 4 years ago

    Sorry to say but I’ll believe all of this when I actually see it…

  2. Denby Angus 4 years ago

    So are the ‘global rainforest initiative’ and soil carbon going to be the ‘big announcements’ by Turnbull in Paris? If those initiatives are not coupled with very ambitious emissions reductions targets then it’s just more hot denialist air.

  3. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    Sorry but Huntie will never be regarded for his ambition. First you need a brain and a heart …

    • phred01 4 years ago

      I thought that as reserved for the lion without a heart

  4. John Saint-Smith 4 years ago

    Hunt’s ambitions are utterly vacuous and ridiculous. At least he used to be consistent in his denial of the science, now he has a foot in the stirrups of two different horses.
    The one thing that will save the planet from more than 2 degrees of warming is a massive effort to reduce emissions from their primary source – burning of fossil fuels. We in Australia produce 500 + million tonnes of CO2 every year, and have emitted billions of tonnes since the beginning of the 20th Century. 8 million tonnes of ‘off-setting with soil carbon, and a bit of bushfire management are not going to reduce our accumulated total emissions by any measurable amount.
    I look at Hunt’s grinning self-congratulations over this appalling sham and I hang my head in shame.

    • Phuc Dat Bich 4 years ago

      You are right on the money John. The problem is he is a seat warming type of politician and blows with the wind. He was installed by Abbott and the problem is that Turnbull could only switch out so many in the ministry. I feel strongly that MT who is a climate believer will switch out this turkey for someone like ScoMo who achieves his KPIs and actually talks the talk and implements the action for results.

  5. phred01 4 years ago

    Unbelievable logic

  6. Robert Comerford 4 years ago

    I have to ask where were the educated Journalists at the press club address?
    This spouting of accounting tricks such as locking up possible future uses of land as somehow contributing to CO2 reductions is complete BS.
    Bushfires have been and will be here for many years, it is extraction and use of fossil fuels that is the problem.
    He should have been brought to task for his nonsensical answers.

  7. Miles Harding 4 years ago

    Who needs Lomborg when you’ve got Greg Hunt!

    He starts out with a noble pledge, lulls us into a sense of comfort and then delivers a policy, orthogonal to the original statements.

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