Let’s imagine Australia was able to use politics to work on the single largest threat facing us: climate change.
Our current goal is net zero by 2050. But it could be done much faster. Our modellingIt shows that we could reach this goal by 2035. That’s just 13 years away.
Just think of last week’s audacious bidMike Cannon-Brookes, tech billionaire, to buy AGL, our largest emitting company and quickly retire its fossil fuel assets.
You might also consider the The latest climate news and think it’s too late. This is false. There’s a better future just ahead, if we can seize it.
Moving on to the next stage of decarbonisation
In 13 years (2035), we could have near zero emissions power grid of firm renewables that powers our society. With the help of retrofits and new all-electric buildings, apartments and houses could reach near zero emissions within the same year. Significant emissions reductions could also be achieved in agriculture.
Real progress could be made even earlier. In eight years, electric cars could account for 75% of new car sales. Public transport will also be electrified. Industry – often seen as hard to decarbonise – could halve its emissions by 2030. Australia could be a green superpower thanks to its rich mineral resources and ability to make green hydrogen.
Climate change: How economists underestimated the benefits of action for decades
Electricity: Near Zero in 13 Years
The fastest way to generate electricity is changing. We have witnessed a rapid change in the way we generate electricity over the past decade. Tripled the share of renewables in Australia’s generation mix to over 20%.
We have enough sun and wind to make our renewable share reach 80% by 2030. 100% by 2035. Even though we are expected to have higher electricity demand, we can manage it. Double by 2050.
We even have the renewable resources available to produce more electricity that we use and then export the surplus. Tasmania, for example, has legislated a 200% renewable energy target by 2040 – meaning they can export the excess power.
We have the technology to achieve this scale. We only need to plan the transition so that cheap renewable power is available as the coal- and gas exits. Done right, we’ll all benefit from cheaper power. Operators and state governments of the energy market They have beenHow to do it.
As the world needs our services, there will be still mining jobs. Green tech mineralsSuch as cobalt, copper, and lithium. We have. huge opportunitiesTo benefit from our ever-cheaper renewables, we offer nation-building megaprojects in which Australian renewables are shipped under the sea to Asia or converted into green hydrogen and shipped in lieu of fossil gas exports.
Buildings: Near Zero in 13 Years, with a boost to comfortable Living
We can reduce emissions across the economy by switching to clean electricity. We’ll see this most clearly in our homes and commercial buildings.
How? Look at the all-electric, 7-star new buildings under construction by some of Australia’s Largest property developers. For those of you who live in older homes large-scale retrofittingThis would allow us to achieve near zero emissions by 2035 at the lowest possible cost.
The benefits? We can reduce your energy bills and make you more comfortable by fixing the problems with insulation and air leakage. Energy use per household in Australia By 2030, the chance of halving this figure is possibleIf available technologies are made available in Australian markets.
Transport: 75% new cars will be electric in the next eight years
Most technology needed to electrify Australia’s cars, utes and vans is ready to hit the road. There are more electric vehicle models became availableWe continue to work on it. similar timelinePrice parity could be achieved within four years in both the US or EU.
People will switch to electric vehicles if they are cheaper than internal combustion engine models. With the right policy, the market will allow for three out of four new electric cars by the end the decade.
Rapid change could be seen in public transport. Sydney’s bus fleet will be electrified and the metro rail system powered by renewables this decade. Melbourne’s trams are renewably powered, with Electric buses are also coming. If taken up across the country, Australia’s public transport network could be transformed by 2030.
More work is needed to decarbonize how we transport freight and move long distances. But zero emissions container shipsAnd Trains powered by batteriesThey are currently in the works.
Why green hydrogen — but not grey — could help solve climate change
Industries: In eight years, emissions have been halved
While industry is often seen as a hard nut to crack, it’s possible to achieve major emissions reductions using known technologies. Our modellingShows that industry emissions could drop by half by 2030
How? How? By quickly switching to existing technologies in order to improve material and energy efficacy, while solutions are created for more challenging emission sources.
The first step in creating industrial precincts powered with renewables is vital. It’s already happening in Western AustraliaAnd New South Wales.
Australia’s significant competitive advantages in mineral resources and renewable energy mean we could lead the world in establishing green industries.
Green hydrogen prices Drops possibleTo A$2/kg in the early 2030s, Australia can become a major exporter while using hydrogen domestically for other low-emission export industries such as green steel.
Agriculture: Net zero is possible by 2035
Around 70% of all agricultural emissions are caused by livestock. By 2030, meaningful emissions reductions can be achieved through the use of plant-based protein and anti-methane technology.
Research breakthroughs Every day.There is a strong desire to make progress in this industry.
Meat and Livestock Australia has a goal Carbon neutrality by 2030 for Australia’s beef, lamb and goat production. This transformation is possible with the right policy signals.
How can Australia reduce its emissions? Our universities have the know-how that we need
Natural resources: Carbon sinks are the key to net zero
Even with these measures, many sectors of Australia’s economy will still have residual emissions by 2035. That’s where our vast land area and enviable natural resources can help get us to net zero.
Even now, Australia’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector Stores more carbon than it makes.
We can use this sector to “soak up” any residual emissions, through forestry plantations, growing more trees on farms (which also improves productivity) and other carbon farming techniques.
Further opportunities for carbon sequestration are available by conserving and preserving wilderness areas in national parks, mangroves and wetlands.
Importantly, land isn’t an “easy fix” replacing the need to slash emissions and quickly. We can’t store endless carbon in these natural sinks.
You are more ready than you think
It is possible for Australia to achieve net zero emissions in just 13 years.
It’s a big job. But we can get there, and we’ll reap huge benefits from the switch.
But we need a united front – with businesses, organisations, individuals – and, yes, governments – agreeing to get on with it. Let’s get cracking.