Australia should reduce net emissions by 40 per cent by 2025 and decarbonise the economy by 2050, a climate body report says.
The report, which compares Australia’s targets with international efforts, comes days before the world’s most powerful leaders gather in Brisbane for the G20 Summit.
However, despite pressure to include climate change in the talks, the issue is not on the agenda.
Australia has committed to a five per cent reduction on 2000 level emissions by 2020 – a figure the Australian Greens and other environment groups say is pitiful.
The government has also agreed, along with almost 200 other nations, to work together to avoid a potential two degree rise in global temperature.
The Climate Institute report, released on Monday, found that to fairly contribute, Australia must set a 2025 target of 40 per cent reduction on 2000 emission levels and a 2035 target of 65 to 75 per cent.
A long-term goal of decarbonising the economy between 2040 and 2050 must also be in place.
The government is yet to set a post-2020 emissions target but the European Union has recently agreed to an initial target of at least 40 per cent reduction on 1990 emissions levels by 2030.
Countries are expected to put their post-2020 emissions reductions targets on the table next year before the United Nations climate change meeting in Paris.
But Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson said the Australian government should announce the process for defining post-2020 targets before climate talks in Peru next month.
“Australian politics is fixated on 2020 but the world is now increasingly looking beyond 2020,” he said.
The Abbott government recently passed its $2.55 billion direct action climate change plan to replace Labor’s carbon tax.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he’s confident the policy will enable Australia to meet its five per cent target but Labor and the Greens say it’s a waste of money.
A recent report by United Nations climate change experts found emissions of three key greenhouse gases were at their highest in more than 800,000 years.
The experts said time was running out to limit global warming to two degrees.