Aug 31, 2008 - 8:01pm
Australia can reduce its carbon pollution by at least one quarter of
1990 levels by 2020 with smart policies and investments, a new
technology model from The Climate Institute shows.
debate to shift to carbon pollution reduction targets on Friday with
Professor Garnaut making recommendations, the Institute also released a
summary of the latest science of climate impacts for Australian states,
Australia and the world from various targets.
“After weeks of polluters seeking special deals this report shows with
smart policies and investments, Australia can improve its carbon
productivity and take advantage of billions of dollars of efficiency
improvements,” said John Connor, Climate Institute CEO.
“Significant reductions in our energy sector can be achieved with
investments over the next decade of around half of one per cent of this
year’s GDP - $46.6 billion. There are also billions of dollars savings
possible in improved efficiency, savings not included in BCA’s
Over the last year The Climate Institute
has worked with leading energy modelers MMA to produce a “bottom-up”
model of Australia’s carbon pollution reduction potential. An
interactive version of the model will soon to be released enabling
users to identify differing scenarios of technologies and strategies
needed to reach selected emission reduction targets.
The scenario in the report released today shows that more than half of
the pollution reduction can be achieved at a net saving to the economy.
The bulk of this lies in the large un-tapped opportunities to improve
energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
“What this scenario also shows is that
scientifically credible targets won’t be achieved by the Government’s
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme alone. A range of additional measures
are needed, including strong energy efficiency measures and a focus on
public transport, urban design and agriculture.”
“With a target of at least 25 per cent carbon pollution reduction,
Australia can be a positive player in global negotiations to help
achieve global targets so clearly in our national interest. Anything
less would return Australia to the climate laggard role we have just
As part of a global
response, industrialised countries as a group need to reduce emissions
by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. This scientific range was included
as guidance for industrialised countries in the Kyoto talks agreed at
the 2007 UN Bali Climate talks.
for soft starts is over. Unless industrialised countries reduce
emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 we risk severe climate
impacts such as the collapse of the Amazon rainforest. These and other
forests are the ‘lungs’ of the world and their collapse would release
billions of tones of greenhouse emissions, further risking triggering
runaway climate change.”
Climate Impacts and
Emission Targets shows that a global carbon pollution target of 550
parts per million would almost certainly increase global temperatures
beyond a two degree rise on pre-industrial levels with impacts for
Australia of up to 300% increases in extreme fire weather days, a high
risk of the irreversible melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet which would
raise sea level by several metres and the disappearance of the Great
Barrier Reef as we know it.
carbon pollution to at least a quarter of 1990 levels is not only
achievable, it’s vital to our credibility in the realpolitik of the
global climate talks,” concluded Mr Connor.