Clarifying Australia's latest Kyoto commitment

Australia's provisional target for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol left many scratching their heads. So what does it mean and how does it relate to our 5% by 2020 target?

Earlier in the week, the Australian government submitted its provisional target (known as a ‘Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Objective’ (QELRO)) for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The target, 99.5 per cent of 1990 levels, left many scratching their heads and wondering how it relates to the previously announced objective of reducing Australia’s emissions by 5 per cent below 2000 levels. What follows is an attempt at an explanation — warning, it contains technical content.

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