In Australia, the Paris Agreement was presented to the Federal Parliament on 31 August 2016 with a national interest analysis. After review by Parliament`s Standing Committee on Treaties, which recommended that Australia ratify the agreement, Australia announced its ratification of the Paris Agreement on 10 November 2016. The government has appointed key players in the field of fossil fuels and mining to its Covid-19 Commission National Advisory Board, including a member of Saudi Aramco`s Board of Directors. Not surprisingly, the Commission supports gas-based recovery, which recommends that the government sub-sense pipelines and increase both domestic gas supply and subsidies for gas-fired electricity generation. The government has ignored the possibilities of a green recovery, in particular an accelerated transition to renewable energy. The Commonwealth Government has pledged $213.6 billion to address the economic consequences of the pandemic by providing funding to recipients of social assistance and wage subsidies to businesses. Recovery funds are not geared towards a green recovery. The decline in economic activity in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to a decline in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission projections for 2030, although Australia has not implemented an effective climate policy. The Australian government embarked on a more than green gas-fired recovery and continued to signal its support for the coal industry. The government has shown no intention of updating its Paris Agreement target or adopting a net-zero emissions target, as the Prime Minister explicitly excluded it. The government is focusing on a „technology-neutral“ approach, which its focus on gas contradicts.
Investment in renewable energy has fallen to 2017 levels due to uncertainty in the government`s policy direction. There is a lack of climate action, despite increasing climate impacts such as the catastrophic bushfires that enveloped several states in late 2019 and early 2020. The CAT considers that the objective of the Australian Paris Agreement is „inadequate“. According to the most recent greenhouse accounts, deforestation accounted for about 30% of national emissions in 1990. In the years that followed, it declined significantly, allowing Australia to increase its fossil fuel emissions while exceeding its first Kyoto target. This has been called the „Australian clause“ of the Kyoto Protocol, approved by the Howard government in 1997. Richie Merzian, Director of Climate and Energy at the Australian Institute, said: „This research clearly shows that there is no scientific, moral or legal basis for the Australian Government`s determination to have its historical recalcitrance recognised.“ The Morrison government is surrounded by state governments, foreign trading partners, local companies and large investors moving forward to bring the world to net-zero emissions by 2050. The government`s „technology neutral“ approach has resulted in increased support for the fossil fuel industry.
The working document on the Roadmap for Technology Investments, published in May 2020, endorses natural gas and carbon (CCS) capture and storage technology without excluding support for coal and nuclear power. In another step backwards, the government has proposed to shift the responsibilities of the two government organisations facilitating research and the flow of funding to the renewable energy sector (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, ARENA, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, CEFC) towards a more technology-neutral mandate, including carbon capture and storage. The government has spent C$233 million on the National Low Coal Initiative and allocated $1 billion to the flagship CCS program (which expires in 2020), but there is no CCS in the energy sector. .