Paris climate change deal makes history

4 January 2016

World leaders made a historic agreement at the 2015 Conference of the Parties, in Paris, when they committed to a stronger focus to limit global warming.

World leaders made history at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris on 12 December 2015 when they agreed to try and limit global warming to well below 2°C on pre-industrial levels. Now the real work starts in each country on the policies and changes to bring the commitments to life.

What is the Paris agreement? 

  • A minimum target to limit global warming to less than 2°C, with countries to try and achieve a 1.5°C scenario
  • 186 countries have pledged targets for the 2020-2030 period. For the first time, capturing both developed and developing countries, including China and India – two of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.
  • Countries can review and increase their targets every five years, starting in 2020, which will allow targets to gradually increase over time so that the minimum 2°C target can be met
  • By 2020, $100 billion per year in funding will be provided to developing nations to help them reduce emissions. This figure will be increased from 2025.

"By 2020, $100 billion per year in funding will be provided to developing nations to help them reduce emissions. This figure will be increased from 2025."


What does this mean for Australia?

Australia has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030, based on 2005 levels. This is a strong target that will require a significant transformation of the energy sector between now and 2030.

Electricity is the largest source of emissions in Australia, comprising about one-third of total emissions. Assuming the electricity sector will be responsible for one-third of the total reduction required to meet the target, this will be equivalent to replacing two of the most emissions intensive brown coal-fired power stations with renewable energy.

Origin supports Australia’s 2030 target as a minimum goal and we believe even greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are possible. Origin has been preparing for a carbon constrained world for several years, developing Australia’s largest gas-fired generation portfolio – which is lower emissions and a natural complement to renewable energy.

What changes will be required for Origin and the electricity sector in Australia more generally?

  • a commitment to phasing out the most carbon-intensive fuels like brown coal in power generation and replacing them with lower carbon fuels like gas or renewables. Origin has only one less carbon intensive black coal generator and we have flagged this will close at the end of its asset life in the early 2030s
  • significantly increasing our support for renewable energy such as solar, and
  • a continuing role for gas for Australia, and as a substitute for coal in international markets.

Origin is working with government, industry and the broader community on the right policies to achieve or better Australia’s 2030 target.

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