About us

The Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions is a new international Graduate College jointly instituted by the University of Melbourne and a partnership of German universities in the Berlin-Potsdam area. The College offers PhD candidates the opportunity to pursue research in climate change and energy transitions at a world-class level, complemented by a six month exchange program to broaden their horizons and expertise at a partner institution overseas.

The Climate & Energy College at Lima UNFCCC conference

The COP20 (20th Conference Of the Parties) of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Peru and was a critical event on "The Road to Paris 2015" towards a final global agreement on Climate Change. Researchers from The University of Melbourne and the Climate & Energy College were there and told us their vision of what went on in Peru and why the upcoming Paris conference in December 2015 is such an important event for the safety of our planet.

Setting Australia’s Post-2020 Target for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Submission to the Emissions Target Taskforce Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet


Setting Australia’s Post-2020 Target for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By: Annabelle Workman (1,3), Cathy Alexander (1,9), Ryan Alexander (1,7), Peter Christoff (4), Roger Dargaville (2), Kate Dooley (1,4), Jen Drysdale (1), Robyn Eckersley (5), Adrian Ford (1), Fiona Haines (5), Ben Henley (2), Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (6), David Karoly (1,2,3), Ellycia Kolieb (4), Dimitri Lafleur (1,2), Malte Meinshausen (1,2,7), Alexander Nauels (1,2), Graham Palmer (1,2), Chris Ryan (8,1), Robyn Schofield (2), John Wiseman (9)

(1) Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions, The University of Melbourne

(2) School of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

(3) EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges, The University of Melbourne

(4) School of Geography, The University of Melbourne

(5) School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne

(6) Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland

(7) Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

(8) Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, The University of Melbourne

(9) Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne


Summary of submission

  • It is imperative that Australia’s post-2020 target for greenhouse gas emissions supports the international objective of limiting global temperature rise to within two degrees Celsius (2°C) of pre-industrial levels.
  • An emissions reduction target of 60 per cent based on 2000 levels by 2030 represents a fair contribution from Australia.
  • By 2025, an Australian emission reduction target of at least 30 per cent below 2000 levels (or 36 per cent below 2005), would put Australia’s per-capita emissions on the same level as those of the United States (US).
  • The proposed target would facilitate Australia’s transition to a post-carbon economy. This is a transition that will positively impact Australia’s long-term standard of living because avoiding dangerous climate change is in Australia’s national interest.
  • Setting a clear long-term pathway could accelerate investment in low-carbon energy, industrial production, energy efficiency, and forest and land management. Conversely, a lack of certainty and clarity in Australia’s carbon pathway could increase long-term costs for Australians.

Summary of recommendations

To protect Australia’s national interests, it is recommended that the Australian Government: