The Kyoto Protocol is an instrument of the climate convention that was adopted in 1997 at the Third Conference of the Parties (COP 3), which only came into force in 2005.  The Kyoto Protocol requires some industrialized countries (the “Schedule I parts”) to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol has placed a greater burden on developed countries, which are largely responsible for high greenhouse gas emissions (so-called “common but differentiated responsibilities”). Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, but did not ratify it until 2007. The first “commitment period” of the Kyoto Protocol ran from 2008 to 2012. Australia met and exceeded its first target of 108% of emissions from 1990 to 2012. And to deliver on our promise to bring emissions down to 26% below 2005 levels by 2030, we believe that we will only achieve this by asking for funds to meet the targets set out in previous climate agreements – the so-called “Kyoto transfer credits,” the validity of which is widely questioned. However, the Australian government believes Australia will meet its 2030 target “through a policy based on its proven direct action approach.” These measures include the Emissions Reduction Fund and the associated protection mechanism, as well as a series of other measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy productivity. Chart 1 shows the main relevant policies and the amount of emission reductions the government believes it can achieve relative to Australia`s 2030 target. At the same time, the government is also reviewing Australia`s climate change policy to “take stock of Australia`s progress in reducing emissions and ensure that the government`s policy remains effective in achieving Australia`s 2030 target and the commitments of the Paris Agreement.” The review will also examine a possible long-term emission reduction target beyond 2030.
A discussion paper has been published for public notice and the review will be completed by the end of 2017. The government has appointed major players in fossil fuels and the mining industry to its national advisory board of the COVID 19 commission, including a member of Aramco`s Saudi board of directors. It is not surprising that the Commission supports a gas-based recovery, which recommends the government to finance pipelines, and increases both the national gas supply and subsidies for gas-fired electricity generation. The government has ignored the chances of a green recovery, particularly an accelerated transition to renewable energy.