Australia will support the inclusion of a goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees – the level demanded by low-lying countries most at risk from climate change – in a deal being negotiated in Paris in return for favourable carbon accounting rules.
The concession, extracted from Australia by the tiny Caribbean island nation of St Lucia and South Africa, followed lengthy negotiations in Paris aimed at resolving differences over how to treat carbon dioxide emissions.
A failure to remove that obstacle would have been embarrassing for the government after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had declared to world leaders on Monday in Paris that Australia would ratify the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol even though accounting rules had yet to be settled.
While Australia will back the 1.5 degree target being included, it does not mean it will introduce more aggressive climate change policies in line with this goal.
St Lucia and South Africa objected to Australia’s preferred definition of emissions to include changes in land use. The recognition of a reduction in land clearing since the 1990s allowed Australia to meet its target under the protocol even as emissions continued to grow from industrial and other sources.
(Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/un-climate-conference/paris-un-climate-conference-2015-australia-backs-target-of-limiting-warming-to-15-degrees-20151204-glg5dc.html)