Climate Council releases plan to turbo-charge Australia’s race to zero emissions

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The Power Up: 10 Climate Gamechangers report provides a practical roadmap for the Federal Government to speed up its climate action in the 2020s, to ensure Australia well overshoots the 43% emissions reduction target. Many of the policy recommendations can be implemented in this term of government.

Climate Council chief executive officer Amanda McKenzie said: “With the Climate Change Act passing the Parliament last week, Australia finally has climate targets enshrined in law. Now the hard work begins to get emissions plummeting this decade to avoid the worst climate impacts.

“The Labor government says its current climate policy is a floor, and not a ceiling. Well, the Climate Council’s plan provides the tools they’ll need to build the entire house.

“We can deliver the deep, rapid emissions cuts needed to avoid a climate catastrophe while building a clean, prosperous future for all Australians. Getting cracking on expanding renewable energy and electrifying our homes and transport will also save Aussies money on their rapidly rising bills, while creating tens of thousands of new jobs for our regions.

“Our Power Up report is a plug-and-play roadmap for policymakers, with practical science-backed solutions that they can implement straight away, using today’s technology. It will deliver win-win-win benefits for our climate, cost of living and economy.”

The world has already warmed by around 1.1°C, causing unprecedented disasters around the world. Global emissions must halve this decade if we are to avoid extremely dangerous levels of warming.

Taking account of Australia’s very high per capita emissions and unmatched opportunities for renewable energy, the Climate Council said Australia should aim to reduce its emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030, and reach net zero emissions shortly after.

The Climate Council’s 10 Climate Gamechangers are:

  1. Plug in 100% renewables.
  2. Boost batteries for rock-solid renewable supplies, through a Renewable Energy Storage Target.
  3. Upskill Australians for clean trades.
  4. Plan ahead for coal closures so no-one is left behind, with the appointment of a National Energy Transition Authority to agree closure dates and transition plans.
  5. Implement mandatory fuel efficiency standards as soon as possible.
  6. Work with States and Territories to ditch diesel for renewable electric buses.
  7. Make new buildings net zero by 2025, and electrify established ones.
  8. Ensure major polluters do their fair share through a stronger Safeguard Mechanism.
  9. End public funding and finance for coal, gas and oil.
  10. Develop a comprehensive climate and energy investment plan by 2024.

While some of this work has already begun, there are several areas the Climate Council urges the government to begin as soon as possible. This includes ceasing public funding for fossil fuels, implementing fuel efficiency standards, making all new Australian buildings net zero and electrifying existing ones.

“The truth is the global transition to a zero emissions future is already well underway. Australia has a choice. We can play our part on climate action, or we can get left behind. A clean, safe and bright future is within our reach, and we have the solutions to achieve it. Australians will pay the price if we don’t grasp the opportunity before us,” McKenzie said.