SYDNEY, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- A new international report has warned that Australia must stop burning coal before the end of 2030, if it wants to meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Agreeing to cap the rate of climate change at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Climate Analytics said on Thursday that Australia is likely to have trouble honoring the 2016 accord.
With coal making up approximately 60 percent of Australia's electricity generation, the report found that if current power plants were to operate until the end of their technical lifetimes, as current policies foresee, they would emit a further 194 percent of the carbon budget needed to stay in line with the nation's obligation.
"Australia would be well advised to fully decarbonise its electricity generation quickly, as it is a fundamental step in cutting emissions in all other sectors, where electrification plays an important role," said Paola Yanguas Parra, who leads the work on decarbonisation strategies at Climate Analytics.
"Delaying coal phase-out will mean that the necessary emission reductions to meet climate targets is going to be even harder and very expensive."
Struggling already with the country's worst drought in history and the increasing degradation of corals on the Great Barrier Reef, as temperatures rise due to climate change, Australia will receive less winter rainfall, continued drought and a longer fire season, the report predicts.
"The realisation that climate change poses an existential threat to Australia is certainly hitting home right now, as communities across New South Wales and Queensland (state) are reeling from the devastation of the recent unprecedented bushfires," CEO of Climate Analytics Bill Hare said.
"Clearly the world needs rapid emissions cuts and Australia must play its part in fighting climate change, and it could start by switching from coal to renewables in its own electricity system."
"Australia has a massive potential for renewable energy and replacing coal with renewables will have large economic and environmental benefits in terms of jobs, lower power costs, and reduced air pollution. Yet international investors are increasingly wary of us as a country, because of our continued reliance on coal -- and we stand to lose out, economically," he added.