POWER UP: ten climate changes

Powerup is a set of ten energy shifts that will help Australia on track to tackle both the climate crisis and our cost of living crisis.

In this decade, we will have to embark on a steep trajectory of reducing emissions, with existing efforts increased significantly and rapidly.

Australia has already warmed by around 1.4 ° C and is suffering significant losses due to accelerating climate change. The worst is to come as extreme weather events, such as forest fires, floods, heatwaves and droughts, occur more often and become more severe. To avoid the worst climate impacts, global emissions need to halve this decade and we need to hit net zero in the early 1940s.

As a rich country with extraordinary renewable resources, Australia should aim to reduce its emissions by 75% this decade and reach net zero emissions shortly thereafter. Turn on can help us get there.

Key findings

1. Australia’s journey to net zero is only just beginning. Over the next eight years to 2030, we will have to embark on a steep trajectory of reducing emissions, with existing efforts being significantly and rapidly increased.

  • Australia has already warmed by around 1.4 ° C and is suffering significant losses due to accelerating climate change. The worst is to come as extreme weather events, such as forest fires, floods, heatwaves and droughts, occur more often and become more severe.
  • To avoid the worst climate impacts, global emissions must halve this decade with net zero reached in the early 1940s. As a rich country with extraordinary renewable resources, Australia should aim to reduce its emissions by 75% this decade and reach net zero emissions shortly thereafter.
  • The Climate Council has identified ten climate changes – which use available technologies and can be implemented in the coming years – to start Australia on a steep path of reducing emissions in the electricity, transport, construction and industry.
  • This builds on the federal government’s existing plans to reduce national emissions by at least 43% (below 2005 levels) by 2030, reaching net zero by 2050.

2. By reducing Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and gas, the federal government can address climate change as well as our energy and cost of living crises.

  • Strong increases in fuel and electricity prices are hitting Australian households and businesses hard. By accelerating investments in renewable energy, supported by storage and transmission, household disposable income through the national energy grid would increase by nearly 7% by 2030.
  • Such smart investments would also halve emissions from our electricity sector in the coming decades compared to existing federal government plans.
  • Such investments are not only the best way to rapidly reduce emissions and protect households from further price hikes, but also ensure that we are prepared for early withdrawal of coal-fired power plants, supply chain problems or other international shocks. .
  • The Climate Council recommends that transmission upgrades be planned to support a 100% renewable electricity grid – even as energy consumption increases to support electrification in transport, buildings and industry – and a mandatory target for the renewable energy storage, to be put in place by the end of 2023 to increase network storage.

3. There is a severe shortage of skilled workers in clean industries, and this needs to be addressed quickly for Australia to run towards net zero.

  • Australia faces a shortage of skilled workers in many areas of the economy. Clean energy industries are facing a particularly severe shortage, with three out of four PV companies struggling to recruit properly experienced electricians.
  • Investing in renewable energy skills training will create another 30,000 jobs in Australia as we move to net zero emissions. Skilled workers are needed to build renewable energy infrastructure, working on solar farms, wind farms, batteries, transmission lines and water pumps, as well as energy efficiency and clean transportation.
  • A National Energy Transition Authority should be established to plan and maximize the benefits of Australia’s energy transformation, including setting fixed shutdown dates and developing transition plans for Australia’s coal-fired fleet by the end of the year. 2024.
  • Planning and creating the right workforce can help revitalize our regions, support workers and regional communities who are directly affected by changes, and help address high levels of youth unemployment and underemployment.

4. To reduce emissions as quickly and as far as possible by 2030, we need to electrify our vehicles, find new ways to move people and reduce the need to travel.

  • By putting in place mandatory fuel efficiency standards for light vehicles, the federal government can give Australians access to cars that are cheaper, cheaper and cleaner to run.
  • The benefits of such standards to our economy and environment (through reduced emissions and fuel costs) would be enormous, with a net benefit of billions of dollars over the next two decades.
  • The federal government must work with states and territories to move all bus and train fleets to zero-emission fleets as soon as possible, starting with a rapid phasing out of diesel buses.
  • Running all of our buses on renewable electricity will make our air cleaner and provide many immediate health benefits. Air pollution from fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks and buses is responsible for around 1,700 deaths each year; more than the road toll.

5. The federal government needs to make the money available by helping families and industry to move away from fossil fuels and phasing out any taxpayer support for coal, oil or gas.

  • Emissions from buildings in Australia must go down to zero, ideally by 2030. In the construction industry, most of the solutions we need are readily available, affordable and will help families and businesses reduce their operating costs.
  • For established buildings, gas appliances (including heaters, hot water systems and cooktops) should be phased out and replaced as soon as possible with bans on new gas appliances in place from 2025.
  • All major emitting industries in Australia are regulated by the safeguard mechanism. This mechanism needs to be fixed because industrial emissions are increasing. Getting the settings right will help transform industries, enabling Australians to benefit from the global race to net zero.
  • Adding fossil fuels everywhere makes climate change worse. Our public money should not finance the extraction or consumption of coal, oil or gas. All fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out following a review before the 2022-23 budget, and government spending should be aligned with the goal of drastically reducing emissions across the economy this decade and beyond.

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