In 2007, in the lead up to a Federal Election, the Garnaut Climate Change Review, led by Professor Ross Garnaut, was first commissioned by State and Territory Governments to conduct an independent study of the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy.
The Review's First Report was released on 30 September 2008. The Report recommended medium to long-term policies and some suggestions for Australia’s carbon pollution emissions reductions targets.
The review recommended that Australia should be ready to calibrate its emissions reductions proportionately to a global effort directed at less than the 2°C (or 450 parts per million concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent) objective.
By 2011, both the Australian Government and the Opposition had each committed themselves to reducing Australia's emissions by 2020 by at least 5% (relative to 2000 levels), unconditionally, in the absence of any global agreement on emissions reductions.
The Garnaut Climate Change Review—Update 2011 released a series of papers in February and March 2011 addressing developments across a range of areas including: Update Paper 6: Carbon pricing and reducing Australia's emissions.
Garnaut indicated that Australia’s carbon pollution emissions reduction target will need to be revised upwards over time in line with international action.
The Climate Change Authority has commenced a review of targets for reducing Australia's carbon pollution by 2020 and beyond.
The Caps and Targets Review will recommend a target for reductions in emissions for Australia and a proposed pathway to that target. As part of this Review, the Authority will also recommend annual emissions caps (or limits) for Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism for the period 2015-16 to 2019-20.
The Authority has released an Issues Paper on the Caps and Targets Review and invited public submissions. Submissions should be lodged by 30 May 2013.