Australia's partners acting

The Carbon Market Institute has launched a new report Market-based Approaches to Emissions Reductions - Australia's Key Trading Partners in July 2014.

As the title suggests, this report taps into Australia's trading partners and informs us exactly what climate action they are taking.

What are they doing?

CMI report on climate action by Australia's trading partners

CMI report on climate action by Australia's trading partners

More than what you might think. The EU started first with its emissions trading system in 2005 which covers 45% of overall emissions. Despite hiccups, the EU ETS has met all targets and is on track for a 20% emissions reduction by 2020. New Zealand followed in 2008 with an economy wide ETS as well as a 90% target for renewable energy by 2025. Regional ETSs in the US now operate in 10 states and a power plan aims to cut emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030. Japan has 3 sub-national ETSs covering 8% of emissions. Korea is set to go with a national ETS covering 60% of emissions. Even India has mandatory energy efficiency targets for energy-intensive industries.

So how does Australia compare? If the carbon price is cut, we will have no coverage of emissions and a 5% reduction by 2020 (on 2000 levels). The Emissions Reduction Fund, if implemented, would provide a limited procurement method to achieve reductions.

The report sets all this out in nice country fact sheets and in the context of what is expected in Paris in December 2015 - national commitments, finance for developing countries, carbon market mechanisms and interestingly a loss and damage mechanism to cover extreme weather events in vulnerable countries.

It does seem like an irresistible menu of forward action. But it doesn't seem like Australia is contributing to this action right at the moment. Memo to Senators next week: vote wisely.