EXPERT REACTION: Australia ratifies Paris climate agreement

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The government has today ratified the Paris climate agreement, formalising Australia's commitment to cutting carbon emissions and slowing climate change. This follows the Paris agreement entering into force on Friday Nov 4th 2016, and Australia signing the agreement back in April.

Organisation/s: Australian Science Media Centre

Expert Reaction

These comments have been collated by the Science Media Centre to provide a variety of expert perspectives on this issue. Feel free to use these quotes in your stories. Views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the SMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated.

Dr Luke Kemp is a researcher in international climate change negotiations and lecturer at ANU

"The ratification of the Paris Agreement by Australia is an important step forward, but not enough. Australia’s ratification is well timed. It shows some trust in the Paris Agreement in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, who has promised to cancel the Paris Agreement. It is a move that he cannot do, but he can and likely will withdraw.

Australia must go beyond words to effective action. Ratification of Paris has few legal ramifications. It largely means that Australia will simply need to put forward an increasingly stringent climate action pledge every five years. However, Australia is already projected to significantly overshoot its woefully inadequate targets.

Australia must put in place a target for net zero emissions by 2050 and reinstate a carbon price to have its actions reflect scientific necessity. Ratification of Paris will otherwise be an empty, symbolic gesture."

Last updated: 11 Nov 2016 12:22pm
A/Prof Helen McGregor is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Wollongong

This is an important step towards keeping global temperatures to below 2 degrees celsius. But make no mistake, Australia’s commitment to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2030 will not be enough to meet the 2 degree target. I encourage our leaders to plan and implement deeper cuts, the sooner the better — the climate system waits for no politician.

Last updated: 10 Nov 2016 3:50pm

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