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Update Paper 3: Global emissions trends
Summary of key points
- Without mitigation, and in the absence of negative feedback from climate change, global emissions will double between 2005 and 2030. This updated business as usual projection is in line with the projections of the 2008 Review.
- The shift in global growth momentum towards developing countries discussed in the 2008 Review has become more pronounced.
- Developing countries are now projected to account for 70 per cent of global emissions at 2030 under business as usual, compared with the Review’s projection of 63 per cent.
- China and India are growing strongly, and other developing countries are also experiencing an acceleration of growth that began in the early twenty first century.
- China is heading towards developed country income levels even more rapidly than anticipated in the 2008 Review, and therefore will need to accept developed country emissions constraints at an earlier date, if global objectives are to be met.
- China’s Copenhagen mitigation commitments to 2020 are stronger than anticipated by the 2008 Review, providing a platform for what will subsequently be required.
- The Great Crash of 2008 has pushed the developed countries of the northern hemisphere onto a lower long-term economic growth trajectory. This and other factors will result in lower underlying emissions growth in developed countries, but is fully offset by stronger emissions growth in the developing world.
- There has been a large recent expansion of known gas reserves that has reduced the relative price of gas and which may provide significant opportunity for reductions in business as usual emissions over the next decade beyond what is anticipated in these projections.
- Australia is unique among the developed countries: its business as usual emissions are set to grow considerably.
- Growth in projected business-as-usual emissions is primarily due to expected strength in the resources sector in the years ahead.
- The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency estimates that Australia’s emissions are projected to rise by 24 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020, under current policies (which are below ‘business as usual’).
- Mitigation efforts in higher income developing countries will need to be stronger earlier, and other developing countries will need to be brought within emissions constraints sooner than once may have seemed necessary.
- This is unlikely to be possible without an acceleration of mitigation effort in the developed countries. Achieving a given abatement target has become easier in most developed countries, given lower growth prospects.