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First thoughts on Australia’s carbon budget

The Climate Change Authority (CCA) has begun a 10-month study into Australia’s greenhouse emissions targets, a review that is likely to recommend a national “carbon budget” for the very first time, and could possibly suggest much steeper and longer-term emission reduction trajectories than has been contemplated by either mainstream political party to date, Giles Parkinson writes today in RenewEconomy.

The CCA just released an issues paper on Australia’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, before it takes submissions and prepares an interim report in October, just a month after the next federal election. It is expected to deliver its final report in February, 2014.

The concept of a carbon budget is important in climate policy, since the magnitude of climate change is not determined by emissions in any given year, but by the total level of pollution emitted over time. As with any ‘budget,’ the idea is that if we save less now we have to save more later and vice versa. The longer you delay action the more you pay to catch-up.

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