• Researchers see emissions rising 27% from 2005 to 2030
  • Government carbon target for UN talks branded `inadequate'

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to rise in the next 15 years, missing by a wide margin a target proposed for United Nations talks on global warming, a team of researchers said.

Without further policies to stem pollution from fossil fuels, emissions will be 27 percent above 2005 levels by 2030, the researchers at Climate Action Tracker said in a report Friday. The findings cast doubt on a pledge by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to lower emissions by at least 26 percent over the same time period.

Abbott’s government has been criticized by environmental groups and opposition lawmakers over its climate policies, including promoting coal and ending a program that put a price on carbon emissions. 

“Australia stands out as having the most work to do of any industrialized country to achieve its already inadequate climate target,” said Niklas Hoehne, energy and climate policy director at the New Climate Institute in Cologne, Germany, one of four research groups that contribute to the tracker.

Melanie Brown, a spokeswoman in the office of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, didn’t immediately reply to e-mail and voice mail requests for comment left outside normal office hours. 

The UN is gathering carbon reduction pledges from more than 190 nations as part of a drive to devise a new global agreement on climate change at a summit in Paris in December. The biggest emitter, China, has pledged to stop its pollution levels from rising by 2030, while the next biggest, the U.S., promises to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels in 2025.

Australia’s Gap

Climate Action Tracker said Australia’s emissions pledge isn’t a fair contribution to global attempts to rein in global warming pollution. If all other nations took the same approach, warming since pre-industrial times may be double the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) limit that climate negotiators have agreed to, the group said.  

The gap between what’s promised and what may be delivered between now and 2030 adds up to about 3 years of Australian emissions, according to the group.

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