Australia, Egypt and India update climate plans ahead of COP27

Australia’s new Government has passed the country’s first climate target updates in more than a decade, while India and Egypt have updated their Paris Agreement pledges in preparation for COP27.

Australia, Egypt and India update climate plans ahead of COP27

Pictured: The Australian Parliament building

The Australian House of Representatives moved on Thursday (4 August) to pass a new bill including legally binding emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2050, The bill was tabled by Labor and supported by the Greens.

The new 2030 emissions target is for a 43% reduction against a 2005 baseline. This covers not only carbon but all greenhouse gas emissions. The new 2050 climate target is net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This 2050 aim had been floated in 2021 but was not legally binding.

To help deliver the targets, the bill has implemented a new requirement for key government agencies to run emissions forecasting when making investment decisions.

It also includes a new requirement for Australia’s climate Minister to produce an annual report and give an annual statement to Parliament, providing an update on progress and areas for improvement. The report will be developed with support from the Climate Change Authority, which is similar to the UK’s Climate Change Committee.

As a formality, the bill has to clear the Senate when parliament next sits in September. This is almost certain to happen.

Details as to how the plan will impact the private sector need to be fleshed out. The Green Party is prioritizing a push for the end of new coal mining, coal power plant opening and gas extraction, overturning Scott Morisson’s approach.

Climate Action Tracker has rated Australia’s climate policy as “insufficient” overall, with more details needed on how to meet net-zero. A particularly weak area, historically, has been scaling sustainable finance domestically and internationally. If every nation had policies like Australia, the organisation estimates, the global temperature rise by 2100 would be more than 2.5C.

NDCs trickling in

Elsewhere, COP27 host, Egypt, has updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. All nations were asked to provide updates within a year at COP26, but so far only 17 of the UN’s 167 participating nations have done so.

Egypt’s NDC is only its second since the Paris Agreement was ratified in 2015. Its initial NDC was widely regarded as weak in that it lacked much detail.

The new NDC includes pledges for emissions reductions of 33% in the electricity generation sector by 2030, against a 2015 baseline, and 7% in the transport sector within the same timeframe. There is also a commitment to a 65% reduction in this timeframe in the oil and gas sectors, excluding Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

Egypt has stated that, to align with the Paris Agreement through to 2050, it will need to find $246bn of financing.

Climate Action Tracker has not assessed this update yet but deemed Egypt’s old plans “highly insufficient”, aligned with a temperature pathway between 3.5C and 4C.

Also making headlines with its NDC update is India, which sought to flesh out the 2070 net-zero commitment it made last year. India now has a binding target to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, against a 2015 baseline. This is an update on the previous 33-35% target.

Critics may raise eyebrows about the fact that intensity goals do, ultimately, allow nations to keep growing their absolute emissions.

Another key update is that India is now aiming for 50% of its energy generation mix to come from non-fossil sources by 2030. The proportion currently stands at 40%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated last year that India would strive to host 500GW of clean power generation capacity by 2030, but this is not explicitly mentioned in the NDC document.

All nations should present updated NDCs by 23 September. This is unlikely to happen, despite this being a requirement of the Glasgow Climate Pact ratified at COP26. At COP26, many nations submitted NDCs during the conference itself.

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