Fact Sheet - Australia’s 2030 climate change target

Domestic PolicyTaskforces on Past Domestic Policy InitiativesUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Publication author(s):
Australian Government
Publication abstract:

Australia is taking a strong, credible and responsible commitment to the Paris climate change conference.

Australia’s target

Australia will reduce emissions to 26–28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

This target represents a 50–52 per cent reduction in emissions per capita and a 64–65 per cent reduction in the emissions intensity of the economy between 2005 and 2030.

Figure 1. Australia’s emissions reduction targets and achievements, 2005–2030. Source: Department of the Environment analysis

Figure 1. Australia’s emissions reduction targets and achievements, 2005–2030.
Source: Department of the Environment analysis

Our targets build on our success to date

Australia has a proud history of meeting and beating our international commitments on climate change.

Australia outperformed its first target under the Kyoto Protocol. Our Direct Action Plan on climate change has us on track to meet our commitment to reduce emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, which is equivalent to 13 per cent below 2005 levels.

The task of meeting Australia’s 2020 target has fallen over time. In 2008 Australia’s abatement task was estimated at over 1.3 billion tonnes of emissions reductions. This has fallen to 236 million tonnes of emissions reductions.

Chart showing fall as described in the text above

Figure 2. The task of meeting Australia’s 2020 target has been falling over time.1

Source: Department of the Environment, 2015, Australia’s Emissions Projections 2014–15

Australia’s efforts to reduce emissions are in line with other countries

Other countries are acting on climate change and taking strong commitments to Paris. It is important that all countries, and especially major emitters, work together to reduce emissions. Australia is responsible for around 1.3 per cent of global emissions.

Our target is a fair contribution for Australia. When expressed against a common base year of 2005, Australia’s target is similar to those announced by the United States, the European Union, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. 

Figure 3. When expressed against a common base year, Australia’s target is comparable to other countries’ targets.

Figure 3. When expressed against a common base year, Australia’s target is comparable to other countries’ targets.2 

Source: Department of the Environment analysis 

On a reduction in per person and emissions intensity basis, our target will exceed those of the United States, Japan, the European Union, Korea, and Canada.

Between 2005 and 2030 Australia’s emissions per capita will fall by 50–52 per cent and emissions intensity of the economy by 64–65 per cent. This is a significant achievement given that emissions are linked with population and economic growth, and Australia’s population and economy are growing faster than most other developed countries. Australia’s population is expected to grow at 1.5 per cent per annum to 2030, significantly higher than the OECD average of 0.4 per cent. Furthermore, the Australian economy has entered its 25th consecutive year of growth. This is the second longest continuous period of growth of any advanced economy in the world. 

Chart showing information as described in the text above

Chart showing information described in the text above

Figure 4. Meeting our target will involve significant declines in emissions intensity (top) and emissions per person (bottom).

Source: Department of the Environment analysis For the purposes of these charts the US’ 2025 target has been extrapolated to 2030 by extending a straight line of its reduction from 2020 to 2025.

Australia’s 2030 target is achievable with Direct Action.

Australia is meeting our 2020 target through Direct Action policies that reduce emissions, increase energy productivity and improve the health of soils and the environment. These policies will also enable us to meet our 2030 target.

At the core is the $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. This is complemented by the Renewable Energy Target, energy efficiency improvements, phasing out very potent synthetic greenhouse gases, and direct support for investment in low emissions technologies and practices.

The Government will consider Australia’s emissions reduction policies in detail in 2017–2018, in close consultation with businesses and the community.

Chart describing the text above

Figure 5. Australia’s 2030 target is achievable using Direct Action approaches. ‘Technology improvements and other sources of abatement’ include technology innovation and breakthroughs, and other action by businesses, governments and the community.

Source: Department of the Environment; chart represents indicative estimates. Actual emissions reductions will depend on final policy design, and the amount of emissions reductions required to meet Australia’s 2030 target will depend on future emissions trends. 


1. Carryover refers to Australia’s over-performance during the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period
2. China’s emissions are based on OECD projections for GDP and assume China meets the upper bound of its emissions commitment

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