Increasing jobs and benefits to rural Australia from the clean energy transition requires a stronger 2030 target, according to analysis by the clean energy industry.
The leadership of state governments and previous record levels of clean energy investment means Australia can comfortably set a higher target for 2030. A higher 2030 target is now critical to provide a signal for more investment that can deliver a massive employment and economic boost to rural Australia.
The Australian Government can confidently sign up to a far more ambitious 2030 target, with the renewable electricity sector able to underpin at least a 44 per cent reduction in economy-wide emissions by 2030 if it gets the right policy support.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said renewables were a proven technology that would deliver the most efficient and affordable pathway to meeting a net-zero emissions target.
"Wind and solar generation are well-evolved, mature technologies. And backed up by batteries or pumped hydro, they are the cheapest way to power our economy," Thornton said.
"Decarbonising our energy sector by 2030 gets us on the right trajectory to meet a net-zero emissions target by 2050. That's a clear fact. All indications so far this week point to a long road ahead for Australia's clean energy transition.
"Using the Federal Government's emissions data, our modelling shows that an energy sector powered by 100 per cent renewables by 2030 can deliver Australia a 44.5 per cent reduction in carbon emissions based on 2005 levels.
"This is just below the global average of 45 per centand is not an ambitious or difficult target – it's the low hanging fruit.
"If we don't take the opportunities gifted to us by our natural resources of sunshine, wind and expansive available land, then net-zero emissions by 2050 is a pipe dream."
Australia, along with the other signatories to the Paris Agreement, agreed to review and revise its targets in 2030 in line with a 1.5°C temperature rise.
Australia's current emissions reduction targets are in line with a 4°C temperature rise, which is wholly inconsistent with Australia doing its fair share as part of coordinated global action.
Without a higher 2030 target, Australia's credibility amongst our international partners and clean energy investors will be at risk. Global leaders have moved well beyond commitments to net-zero by 2050 and are now ramping up their 2030 targets.
Australia must not shirk its responsibilities in the interests of a safe climate and the immense opportunities of a clean energy future.
Recent modelling by ClimateWorks Australia indicates that the existing commitments by Australia's states and territories already put the country on a pathway to reduce emissions by 37-42 per cent, meaning that there are no excuses for not increasing Australia's 2030 targets.
"The mad scramble on policy a few weeks before Glasgow, after we've had years to prepare, is unsightly and disappointing and hasn't afforded industry, business and community the opportunity to be consulted on a transformative issue for the nation," said Thornton.
Over the last four years, private sector investment has already delivered more than $20 billion to renewable energy development, playing the most significant role in reducing Australia's carbon emissions.
However, policy uncertainty, a rollback of investment and incentives, and regulatory roadblocks to connection and transmission have put the brakes on renewable development.
"We are passing up a golden opportunity that will deliver jobs and growth for the regions," Thornton said.
"Private capital will leave the country and flow overseas to those that offer greater certainty and opportunity.
"A strong interim target on renewables equals jobs and growth and a sure-footed path to net-zero by 2050. It must be the biggest no-brainer of the century, and Australia is set to squander it."
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Clean Energy Council Media Manager
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