Australia submitted an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in October 2021. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2030, including through land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities. The updated NDC includes a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
The country’s emissions have been declining when compared with levels recorded in June 2005, the baseline year for Australia’s 2030 target under the Paris Agreement. A range of factors contributing to a more recent decline includes the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on emissions from transport, increased carbon capture and storage, as well as a reduction in emissions from electricity production. These are partially offset by increased emissions from the land and agricultural sectors.
Engagement with Australia, through SPIPA, has confirmed the role of the Framework Agreement between the EU and Australia (aimed at tackling challenges regarding inter alia climate change) as a valuable tool, functional to building bridges in support of broader EU-Australia engagement.
SPIPA has contributed to dialogue platforms and academic research papers that have allowed for the exchange of EU and Australian perspectives on climate change and exposed Australian audiences to in-depth analysis of recent EU developments. An example of such is the EU’s Fit for 55 plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and the lessons learnt through its implementation that may be relevant to the Australian context.
These dialogues have focused on the establishment and strengthening of entities such as the EU-Australia Climate Business Network and the EU-Australia Knowledge Network (a platform for enhanced cooperation between the EU and Australia’s civil society on climate issues).
SPIPA has also engaged with framework conditions for business opportunities for offshore wind renewable energy projects. Activities took into consideration relevant sectoral regulatory developments, with lessons learnt including the importance of a predictable framework for industry and the relevance of developing supply chains and fostering innovation.
SPIPA furthermore supported the development of a policy report, Unlocking Australia’s Sustainable Finance Potential, and organised public, roundtable and bilateral events with its authors. Both the tour and the report helped build relationships between the EU and Australia’s sustainable finance experts for enhanced bilateral action.
The SPIPA-funded EU-Australia Knowledge Network also took up the topic of Energy efficiency in buildings and energy affordability in the low-carbon transition.