Today: Thursday, 25 April 2024 year

Australia rules out committing to methane reduction target

Australia rules out committing to methane reduction target

Australia’s government announced important measure to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade. 

Prior to the start of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor confirmed the long-awaiting made by the Australian government.

Australia on Thursday ruled out promising to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade, in a stance that will add to criticism that the country is a laggard in addressing climate change.

Last month, the European Union and the United States have already pledged to the 30% methane reduction target.

According to the top energy official, the only way Australia could achieve that target would be to reduce numbers of cattle and sheep.

“At present, almost half of Australia’s annual methane emissions come from the agriculture sector, where no affordable, practical and large-scale way exists to reduce it other than by culling herd sizes,” Taylor said.

Over the decades, Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal and liquified natural gas. Thus, the gas, mining sector and agriculture account for almost one third of Australia’s methane emissions.

Australia’s 2030 targets are weak, scientists say

Commenting on the measure, scientists agree Australia’s 2030 targets are among the weakest in the developed world.

For comparison:

  • the US has committed to reductions of between 50% and 52% below 2005 levels, while
  • the UK has pledged to cut emissions by 68% below 1990 levels.

Australia’s prime minister Morrison backed Angus Taylor, who earlier this week said the government’s policy was to reduce emissions across the national economy.

“I have no misunderstanding. It’s a whole-of-economy emissions reduction plan,” Morrison said. “That’s the policy agreed by Cabinet.”

In fact, PM Morrison added policies to “invest in rural and regional Australia” would be announced before the next election, which is due by May.