Post-2020 targets. What one can infer from the IPCC AR5 reports and what a leadership approach might mean...

Post-2020 targets. What one can infer from the IPCC AR5 reports and what a leadership approach might mean...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Working Paper Discussion: The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report stops short of providing country-level information on post-2020 mitigation target ranges. Global emissions in 2025 or 2030 can be allocated to single countries following a variety of allocation schemes. At this stage, however, assuming that the international community agrees on a single allocation scheme seems utopian. We discuss a new approach: leading countries take into account the diversity in views of other countries on what is a fair allocation for post-2020 mitigation targets and select their proposed target in accordance. For instance, a 2030 target of 69% below 1990 for the EU28, a 76% below 2005 for the USA or a 33% below 2010 for China could secure a likely chance of meeting the 2°C target in our illustrative case. Taking a longer-term perspective, we show that the IPCC’s carbon budget findings imply a linear global phase-out of total net CO2 emissions by 2050, if pre-2020 ambition is not increased. (see invitation here:

Event Location: 
Alice Hoy Building 162, Room 333, University of Melbourne
Monash Road
Melbourne , VIC
Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions

A/Prof Malte Meinshausen is Deputy Academic Convenor of the College at The University of Melbourne since 2012 and is affiliated with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. He holds a PhD in "Climate Science & Policy", a Diploma in "Environmental Sciences" from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and an MSc in "Environmental Change and Management" from the University of Oxford, UK. Before joining the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in 2006, he was a Post-Doc at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He has been a contributing author to various chapters in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4). Until May 2011, he was leading the PRIMAP ("Potsdam Real-Time Integrated Model for probabilistic Assessment of emission Path") research group at PIK before relocating to Melbourne. Since 2005, he is a scientific advisor to the German Environmental Ministry related to international climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC. Since 2014, he investigates methods to derive future climate targets for Australia in the context of a Future Fellow ARC project. 

Kate Dooley undertook a PhD at the University of Melbourne investigating the science-policy interface around terrestrial carbon science in international climate politics. 

Kate holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, and a BA from Latrobe University. For the past 10 years Kate has worked with environmental non-governmental organisations on forests, climate change and human rights, particularly the European Union’s policy responses to forest governance reforms and illegal logging, and the development of the REDD+ mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) at the UNFCCC. She has been following the UN climate negotiations since 2009, and has published on equity and human rights, distributive climate justice, and illegal logging and trade. 

PhD Project: The politics of accounting: equitable approaches to land-use in a carbon constrained world

Emissions from agriculture and land-use contribute roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet at the same time the land sector is crucial to the pursuit of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The newly concluded Paris Agreement raises the possibility of unprecedented reliance on land-based mitigation, with its long-term goal of achieving a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks”. A key dilemma is how to secure land-based mitigation so as to enhance ambitious climate action, while providing synergies between climate and development goals. 

The research addresses these questions through examining a “governing by expertise” approach in negotiations on land-use accounting rules and the co-production of science and policy in model-based assumptions for long-term mitigation pathways. These approaches are found to entail a technicalisation of what are highly contested normative and political questions about who should do what in combating climate change, and what role the land sector should play. The final part of the research assesses the risks associated with land-based negative emissions in the context of sustainable development goals related to land, food and climate. The conclusions explore what this means for the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and the environmental integrity and equity implications of large-scale land-based mitigation.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Peter Christoff, Prof. Robyn Eckersley

Start Date: October 2013 Completion: 2018



Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.