Apr 27, 2016 - 6:00pm
The emission reduction targets and the focus on a more orderly transition to clean energy announced by the ALP today are important steps towards credible climate policy, said The Climate Institute.
“The ALP’s stronger pollution reduction commitments would set Australia on a path toward the internationally agreed and bipartisan supported goal to limit global warming to 1.5-2°C,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.
In its ‘Climate Change Action Plan’ the ALP has committed to reduce Australia’s net emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to zero by 2050. The government aims for only a 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030 and, though it backs the objective, is yet to set a timeline to achieve net zero emissions.
The Climate Change Authority recommended a 45-65 per cent reduction of 2005 emissions by 2030 for Australia to help avoid 2°C warming. But the commitment by Australia and other countries in Paris to pursue efforts to avoid 1.5°C warming means 45 per cent is the floor, not the ceiling, of credibility.
“Australia is already falling behind global efforts to limit emissions and boost clean energy investment,” John Connor said.
”Our emissions are increasing, clean energy investment is struggling and our power sector is dominated by an ageing coal-burning power fleet. If we don't start catching up, the need for more dramatic action will become more and more likely.”
Recent analysis of policies for the electricity sector by The Climate Institute found that continuing weak action now increases the risk of shocks to prices, jobs and energy security. These could be avoided with an earlier and more orderly transition from coal power to clean energy.
“We need a policy package that replaces high-polluting coal power with clean energy, and supports communities and workers through this transition. The ALP’s policy takes an important step in this direction,” Connor said.
“For this transition to be consistent with our climate commitments, all existing coal burning power stations need to be replaced with clean energy over the next 20 years.”
Connor said The Climate Institute welcomed the ALP’s recognition that carbon pricing is a necessary but not sufficient part of the policy toolbox.
“Over the next 18 months, both the government and the ALP are setting up reviews to integrate climate and energy policies. The ALP’s plan is an advance over existing policies, but is far from complete. The government is yet to develop a plan to clean up the electricity sector and meet its Paris commitments to limiting warming to 1.5-2°C,” he said.
“Without a credible plan for net zero emissions Australia doesn’t have a plan for the future, both major parties have much more to do, but the ALP has taken important steps today.”
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Brinsley Marlay | Media & Communications Manager | 0422 140 555