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International Update Volume 48, Issue 11

AUSTRALIAN ENERGY LEADERS LOOK TO END CLIMATE POLICY WAR

Australia

Australian state energy ministers agreed to move forward with a detailed National Energy Guarantee plan that includes emission cuts. The National Energy Guarantee would require the power sector to cut carbon emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030. Over the past 10 years, disputes over carbon policy have disrupted fossil-fuel power needed for a stable grid and left states to individually pursue renewable energy goals. Particularly, Victoria and Queensland have pushed for much sharper carbon emission cuts and more ambitious renewable energy targets.

BRAZIL’S ACTUAL FOREST-RELATED CO2 EMISSIONS COULD DEFEAT PARIS PLEDGE

Brazil

While Brazil’s reported CO2 emissions are compliant with UN guidelines, scientists suggest that these guidelines ignore significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon-emitting forestry practices. For example, the UN doesn’t require Brazil or other developing countries to count “non-anthropogenic” emission sources, which includes wildlife CO2 releases. In Brazil, however, the majority of fires are intentionally set by humans in an attempt to clear land.

JAPAN’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PUZZLE: SOLAR PUSH THREATENS ENVIRONMENT

Japan

In response to global pressures, Japan’s government aims to increase its renewable energy sources’ shares from 15% to between 22% and 24% by 2030. However, this push to expand the renewable energy sector may pose counterproductive threats to the environment. Residents near the proposed large-scale solar farm in the city of Kamogawa oppose these efforts, in part, because creating the “mega solar plant” involves developers destroying 300 hectares of forest. The irony of swapping carbon-sequestering trees for a solar plant is not lost on campaigners who oppose this plan.