Forget Paris: Australia needs to stop pretending we're tackling climate change


As the Bureau of Meteorology confirms another record-breaking year for temperatures in Australia, we should expect a sense of urgency to be creeping into Australia's climate policy.

Instead, we're seeing the opposite.

While 2015-17 were all within the hottest six years on record, our carbon emissions also continued to increase during the same period, including an all-time peak in 2017, when unreliable land-use data was excluded from the analysis.

This is despite signing up to the Paris Agreement in 2015, which outlined a plan to reduce our carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.

Government data pushed out under the cloak of Christmas indicates that we will be about 140 million tonnes — or about 30 per cent — above that target based on current growth.

And this is under the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull, who in 2010 warned that "the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic."

At the time, he argued that effective action on climate change required moving to "zero, or very near zero emissions [energy] sources.

"The science tells us that we have already exceeded the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep global temperature increase to "well below" 2 degrees, and to attempt to achieve a limit of 1.5 degrees warming above pre-industrial levels.