Australia avoids tougher emissions reduction targets

Australia has avoided tougher emissions reduction targets by banding together with a small group of nations to oppose a measure that would have stopped it using controversial “carry-over credits” to meet its climate goals.

The United Nations’ annual climate change summit wound up in the Spanish capital of Madrid on Sunday without the consensus required among the almost 200 member countries to finalise new international standards on emissions reductions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “disappointed” with the outcome of the Madrid climate talks.Credit:AP

As the meeting dragged on into the weekend, a bloc of 31 countries – including Germany, France, the UK, New Zealand and Pacific nations – on Saturday proposed a minimum set of standards to develop global carbon markets. The so-called “San Jose principles” would have included a ban on countries’ use of carry-over credits accrued for beating their targets under the soon-to-expire Kyoto Protocol to meet current climate goals.

But Australia, one of only a handful of countries that plans to use the credits to meet its Paris Agreement targets, joined with Brazil and Saudi Arabia in opposing various aspects of the measure. Carbon markets and carry-over credits are now set to stay on the agenda at the next UN Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland next year.


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