Study: Australia can cut carbon emissions deeply; reach 100% renewables

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A new WWF-Australia commissioned report has revealed that the country is capable of undertaking ambitious carbon emissions reductions so much so that it can achieve zero net emissions by 2050 and can even reach 100% renewables.

The report by Australian National University’s Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy has been released ahead of the Federal Government’s decision on Australia’s post 2020 emission reduction targets, expected in June.

Author of the report Associate Professor Frank Jotzo said Australia can afford to be ambitious and that it can deeply cut its emissions that too at a low cost.

“With our abundant renewable resources we are one of the best placed countries in the world for moving to a fully renewable electricity supply”, Associate Professor Jotzo said. “Australia can achieve zero net emissions by harnessing energy efficiency, moving to a zero-carbon electricity system, switching from direct use of fossil fuels to decarbonised electricity, and improving industrial processes.”

WWF-Australia’s National Manager – Climate Change Kellie Caught said the Australian Government should commit to carbon pollution reduction targets that are based on science and fairness, which this research shows is not just desirable, but affordable as well.

“Australia needs to do its fair share to help limit global warming to well below 2 degrees warming to keep Australia great,” Ms Caught said.

“We need an ambitious, science-based pollution reduction target so that we can ensure Australia’s natural beauty will still be around for our children and future generations

“The solution is clear: set an ambitous long-term goal for reducing carbon pollution, and take decisive action to make it happen. That’s the kind of leadership hardworking taxpayers deserve – let’s commit to leaving things better than we found them.”

Some of the other key points of the report are:

  • As one of the most vulnerable countries exposed to climate change, Australia’s national interest will be protected by strong global action.
  • Australia’s economy will continue to grow as deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are made.
  • Cutting emissions is getting cheaper, and achieving given targets tends to be cheaper than expected.
  • Cutting emissions can have significant other benefits, in addition to protecting Australia from future climate change.