Australia will begin work to ratify the UN climate immediately and ratify within a year to exceed 2020 emissions reduction targets, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has promised.
Mr Hunt said on the basis of new projections, Australia will beat Kyoto targets by 78 million tonnes.
“We are therefore on track to meet our 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels.
“Already our domestic climate change policies are delivering real outcomes,” he said at UN headquarters in New York where he’s signing the agreement made at the UN climate conference in Paris last December.
Mr Hunt joins representatives from 150 countries signing on to this agreement.
Australia was one of 196 parties to agree to limit global warming by at least two degrees and scale up efforts to slash carbon pollution over time.
“Today, Australia joins the rest of the world in signing the Paris Agreement. We will begin our process to ratify the Agreement immediately and will seek to ratify this year,” he said.
Mr Hunt said the Paris Agreement was a profoundly important milestone and a turning point in the transition to a lower emissions economy.
He said as Australia reduced emissions, the government was looking to protect its lands and oceans.
The government was committing a further $11 million on projects to continue improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.
“Ultimately, intergenerational equity is about the love and the respect that one generation shows another,” he said.
“There will be no greater gift than real action now to protect the Reef, the Okavango Delta, the Everglades and the planet’s natural treasures.”