Australia is one of the top 20 polluting countries in the world and produces more carbon pollution per person than any other developed country in the world. Without a comprehensive plan, Australia's emissions are projected to increase by 24 per cent between 2000 and 2020. Recognising the importance of responding to the climate change challenge, countries all over the world are acting to reduce their emissions. The message is clear: Australia needs to reduce its carbon pollution and do its fair share.
In December 2007, Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreeing to limit annual carbon pollution to an average of 108 per cent of 1990 levels during the Kyoto period (2008 to 2012).
Australia has also committed to reducing its emissions by between 5 and 15 or 25 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. The five per cent target is unconditional. The up to 15 per cent and 25 per cent targets are conditional on the extent of international action. On 27 January 2010, Australia formally submitted its full target range to the Copenhagen Accord. The decision to maintain the full range is consistent with the approach taken by other countries.
The Australian Government has also committed to a long-term target to cut pollution by 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050.