Labor climate policy puts Australia in the race
The long-awaited climate policy of the federal opposition Labor Party promises lower electricity bills, better jobs and lower emissions. The overall figure is an emission reduction target of 43% from 2005 levels by 2030.
So what does this emission reduction target correspond to?
The target is significantly more ambitious than the Morrison government’s “grossly insufficient” interim target of a 26-28% reduction from 2005 levels. While the PM has made much of the government’s new commitment to net zero by 2050 and its “projection” of reducing emissions by up to 35% by 2030 at the recent COP26 summit, it does not intend to update its international commitment on the climate.
In addition, the government’s “plan” to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 has been heavily criticized as failing to provide a clear path for the transition of Australia’s economy.
Labor’s 2030 target is much more aligned with the climate commitments of Australian states and territories. Victoria has pledged to reduce emissions by 45 to 50 percent, and New South Wales by 50 percent, by 2030 (70 percent reduction) are also moving forward.
Attention is now likely to turn to Queensland (whose target is only 30% by 2030, but still ahead of the Morrison government) and Western Australia (no intermediate target , but an update to come).
On the world stage, Labor’s 2030 target is also more in line with announcements from our international peers. For example, the United States has set a reduction target of 50 to 52% from 2005 levels by 2030, Japan has committed to 46% by 2030, and the European Union has announced that ‘it would reduce its emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.
India in particular grabbed the headlines at COP26 when it announced it would achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, which was hailed by scientists as a bold and ambitious announcement given significant challenges of energy poverty in the country.
Importantly, the Labor Party’s commitment to 2030, if implemented by the government, would meet Australia’s obligations under the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26, which “Calls on Parties to review and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature target. by the end of 2022 ”.
Labor appears keen to reaffirm Australia as a climate leader on the international stage, with shadow climate change and energy minister Chris Bowen announcing that Australia will attempt to host COP29 in 2024 in partnership with our Pacific island neighbors.
It is also clear that Labor sees Australian businesses leading the charge for net zero and, to quote Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, “it is time for the Australian government to step up a gear”.
How does Labor plan to run this race?
The Labor Party’s target for 2030 is a significant improvement over the position of the coalition government. But it will take much more to limit the rise in temperatures to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree target, including policies to turn talk into action to accelerate emissions reductions over the next decade. critical.
Labor say their 43% target was met after comprehensive climate policy modeling and notes that these are expected to result in an additional 604,000 jobs by 2030 (with five out of six located in the Australian region), unlocking 52 billion of private investment, and would reduce household electricity bills by A $ 275 per year by 2025.
Much attention, however, will be given to Labor’s reliance on the existing safeguard mechanism – a little-known aspect of the coalition’s climate policy – to do the heavy lifting. The mechanism requires major greenhouse gas emitters, including miners, oil and gas companies, to keep their emissions below a baseline. But the Morrison government to date has set the threshold at a level where it has been ineffective in producing meaningful emission reductions.
Labor policy will be in line with Business Council of Australia support for “[r]educate[ing] reference values in a predictable and progressive manner over time ”to encourage companies to reduce their emissions.
Other promises include the construction of community batteries for home solar power, the creation of new jobs and apprenticeships in renewable energy production and a national strategy for electric vehicles. Labor also plans to make electric cars cheaper by exempting vehicles below the price threshold of the luxury car tax from the five percent import duty and the 47 percent employee benefits tax. on company and fleet cars.
The work, however, has avoided the politically difficult area of fuel standards although this is recognized by many countries as a key area of reform to reduce transport emissions and incentivize the adoption of electric vehicles.
Start running then pick up the pace
Despite quick reviews of some, including the Greens, the Labor Party has now joined businesses, states and territories, and indeed much of the rest of the world, to stand on the starting line in the race to net zero.
This has the potential to put Australia in the race for global climate action, going beyond the existing policies of the Morrison government.
Yet to cross the finish line and curb the world’s worst rise in temperature, the whole world will need to step up the pace until 2030, especially wealthy countries like Australia.
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