Overall rating

Policies and action
against modelled domestic pathways

< 3°C World

NDC target
against modelled domestic pathways

Almost Sufficient
< 2°C World

NDC target
against fair share

< 3°C World
Climate finance
Critically insufficient
Net zero target



Comprehensiveness rated as

Land use & forestry

historically considered a


Historical emissions

Historical emissions data cover the period 1990–2023. They are taken from Australia's National Inventory Report 2021 (Department of Climate Change, 2023f). Estimates for 2022 and 2023 emissions are extracted from the June 2023 Quarterly Report and converted to AR4 using the AR5/AR4 ratio of the 2021 emissions from the National Inventory Report (Department of Climate Change, 2023q).

NDC target

For the 2030 NDC target, we have estimated levels of emissions excluding LULUCF. We recalculate the targeted 43% reduction from the 2005 data every time the historical emissions are updated (Department of Climate Change, 2023f).

Analysis of the effect of the NDC on likely fossil fuel and industrial GHG emissions is made difficult by the fact that the NDC target includes LULUCF emissions, which have been substantial in the past and fluctuate significantly (Figure 2 under “Data Sources and assumptions” in our Australia report of 2015).

As a result, the conclusions of the present CAT assessment are subject to uncertainty in light of Australia’s frequent revisions of its emissions data. The government has repeatedly revised emissions projections downwards. This has typically not been backed by stronger climate policies but is rather the result of a change in assumptions.

There have been significant recalculations of the LULUCF sector sequestration estimates for 2030, ranging from -1 MtCO2e to -16 MtCO2e between 2018 and 2021. The further decline to -33 MtCO2e in the 2022 Projections was justified by “updates and method improvements in the most recent National Inventory Report submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in May 2022” (Department of Climate Change, 2022b).

In the National Inventory Report 2021, published in 2023, all historical LULUCF emissions have been recalculated, by up to 14 MtCO2e (Department of Climate Change, 2023f). These changes are accounted for in the 2023 projections, published in November 2023 (Department of Climate Change, 2023a).

The analysis of the impact of LULUCF emissions on the NDC abatement task included in the LULUCF section relies on data from the latest National Inventory Report and the 2018-2023 emissions projections. By considering historical emissions from 2005, as well as LULUCF sequestration estimates for 2021 and 2030 in each iteration of the projections, the CAT assesses the emissions target required for a 43% emissions reduction below 2005 levels.

Current policy projections

The policies and action projection are based on government projections from 2023 (Department of Climate Change, 2023a). The CAT always provides policies and action projections excluding LULUCF. To this end, the CAT subtracted the projections provided for LULUCF. The current policy projections are aligned with the baseline scenario of the 2023 projections, which includes "current policies and measures and announced policies where there is sufficient detail to make robust assumptions in the modelling” (Department of Climate Change, 2023a).

New policies introduced in the 2023 baseline scenario that were not included in the 2022 version, include: the Safeguard Mechanism reform, the Safeguard Transformation Stream, elements of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, notably the Fringe Benefits Tax exemption, the Household Energy Upgrade Fund the original framework of the Capacity Investment Scheme (before its November 2023 modification), and the Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin. The full list of policies integrated in this scenario is available in the 2023 projections (Department of Climate Change, 2023a).

Announced policy projections

The announced policy projections align with the “with additional measures" scenario of the 2023 government projections, which includes policies that “have been announced but where detailed design is still under consultation” (Department of Climate Change, 2023a).

The additional policies incorporated in the announced policy projections are the 82% renewable energy target by 2030 for the country's grids and additional policies from the National Electric Vehicle Strategy, particularly a fuel efficiency standard for light vehicles. It also includes two additional state-level policies: Victoria’s updated renewable energy target, and the cessation of native forest harvesting starting 2024 in this state (Department of Climate Change, 2023a).

Net-zero target

We use the most recent available update of the Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan as a basis for assessing Australia’s climate trajectory to 2050. The government is currently preparing an update of the 2050 Net Zero Roadmap.

To assess the net zero target, we used the scenario “The Plan”, modelled by DISER (Australian Government, 2021; Australian Government, 2021a). “The Plan” incorporates a sequestration of 38 MtCO2e through bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which is considered in our target assessment. We converted these values to AR4 Global Warming Potentials (GWPs), using the AR5/AR4 ratio from current policy projections. Following this method, we project the remaining emissions in 2050 under the government’s current plans to be between 211 MtCO2e (from the 215 MtCO2e estimated with AR5 GWPs).

Global Warming Potentials values

The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all its figures and time series unless stated otherwise. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the Second Assessment Report (SAR). To be relevant to national context, values using AR5 are added to the text, with a mention.

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