Australia has the technology in hand to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, but will have to speed up adoption to hit the deadline, according to a yet-to-be-published analysis by ClimateWorks Australia.
“Looking just at the domestic economy, not the export economy, the technology mix is available for Australia to achieve net-zero emissions within the carbon budget the science requires for 2°C and for 1.5°C,” said ClimateWorks CEO and former investment banker Anna Skarbek. But “if we want to achieve 1.5°C instead of 2°C warming,” she warned, “we can’t afford any of these areas to be going slower than they could. It’s all in.”
The research “suggests transitioning to net-zero will require Australia’s electricity market to be 100% renewables by 2035, as well as achieving deep energy efficiency and electrification in buildings, and an accelerated rollout of electric vehicles,” The Guardian reports, citing a pre-publication presentation at Australian National University. “To remain within 2°C warming, Australia would need at least half of all new cars in 10 years’ time to be electric vehicles. On a trajectory of staying within 1.5°C, it would be three in four cars. Current government projections point to one in five cars sold.”
To hit the 100% renewables target by 2035, ClimateWorks says Australia would have to boost its 2030 renewables generation target from 50 to 70%.
Skarbek said the outlook for decarbonization has improved in the five years since ClimateWorks’ last pathways report, due to rapid improvements in technology. But The Guardian says the discussion unfolded “amid a resumption of the climate wars in federal politics,” with Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticizing the opposition Labor party for signing on to a 2050 net-zero target without a detailed roadmap to achieve it, but the government not ruling out adopting its own target.
“The government will shortly release its own technology roadmap, work that forms part of its deliberations on driving the transition to low emissions,” The Guardian says. “Morrison has said repeatedly he will not commit to any target beyond 2030 without understanding the costs, and the impact on jobs.”