A 2050 emissions target is an essential outcome for the federal government’s 2017 climate policy review Media release

May 04, 2017 - 11:40pm

The Climate Institute and AGL have called on the federal government, as an outcome of its 2017 climate change policy review, to set a 2050 emissions target. The jointly authored policy paper, Reducing the horizons of uncertainty: Setting Australia’s post-2030 emission goal, also recommends the government define a process for achieving this target by mid-century, submit this strategy to the UNFCCC before the end of 2018, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and review the target every five years from 2022 onwards.

“Setting a 2050 target will provide a key investment signal for business, and an important signpost for policy decisions,” said Acting CEO of The Climate Institute, Olivia Kember. “A stable and credible target, consistent with the Paris Agreement which Australia has signed up to, is net zero emissions by 2050.”

Targeting net zero emissions in the electricity sector has broad industry support.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria told the AFR that fulfilling our Paris Agreement obligations was critical to maintaining our reputation with the international community and our trading partners.

Energy Australia CEO Catherine Tanna called for a clear emissions reduction target to 2050, overseen by independent governance.

And as AGL noted in its Finkel submission, a long-term vision and trajectory for this transition is essential to provide confidence to develop the long-lived and often capital intensive projects that will enable Australia to reduce its emissions efficiently over time, and at least cost.

“The federal government has committed to consider a post-2030 emissions target through its review process,” said Ms Kember, “But it needs to go a step further and actually implement a target of net zero emissions by 2050.”

“Under the Paris Agreement, which Australia has signed and ratified, all countries are expected to develop long-term targets and strategies, and report these by 2020 at the latest.”

The co-authored policy brief, outlines the role that long-term targets play in setting government policy and guiding business and investment strategies.

Other countries including Canada, France, Germany and the USA have already reported detailed strategies to achieve their 2050 emissions targets. Many others - Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the EU, India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Nigeria, Peru, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK - have announced their intention to develop plans.

“The lack of a clear long-term path forward has already made a mess of our energy markets, Ms Kember said. “Setting a target and then developing strategies to achieve it will help us avoid the costs of further policy chaos.”


Media inquiries: Brinsley Marlay ● Media Manager ● 0422 140 555
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