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Australia’s Climate Change Authority releases updated climate policy toolkit

In Australia, the Climate Change Authority has recently released its report "Prospering in a Low Emissions World: an updated climate policy toolkit for Australia". This report sets out how Australia can further develop its policies to ensure it makes its contribution to the global task of reducing emissions, in both the short-term and long-term and position Australia to take advantage of the opportunities of a global low-emissions economy.

Australia is already experiencing the effects of a variable and changing climate such as intense bushfires as this burnt-out pine plantation on the Queensland – New South Wales border in January 2020.

Established under the Climate Change Authority Act 2011, the Climate Change Authority conducts and commissions its own independent research providing independent, expert advice on climate change policy to the Australian Minister responsible for climate change or the Australian Parliament.

Om March 18, 2020, the Authority released its report “Prospering in a Low Emissions World: an updated climate policy toolkit for Australia“.

Australians are already experiencing the effects of a variable and changing climate. 2019 was Australia’s warmest and driest year on record – a key factor driving this summer’s catastrophic bushfire season, which caused widespread loss and devastation to Australian communities, wildlife, and natural ecosystems. At the same time, Australians have endured a record severe and prolonged drought. The case for countries to move quickly to reduce climate change and adopt measures to build our resilience has never been stronger. The good news is the global shift to low emissions presents many opportunities for Australia, said Dr Wendy Craik, the Chair of the Climate Change Authority

The report suggests how Australia can prosper in a low-emissions world due to the abundance of clean energy and already strong institutions and capabilities. As global demand for energy increases and countries move to lower emissions, there will be a growing demand for Australia’s clean energy resources and low emissions products.

The report also points to the potential for emerging technologies and industries, such as hydrogen, to generate significant opportunities for Australia; and acknowledges the Government’s forthcoming Technology Roadmap to stimulate research and investment.

New areas of jobs and growth could open up in diverse economic sectors such as sustainable agriculture, new green-tech industries, environmental and financial services, and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Australia’s emissions targets and budgets, Climate Change Authority based on DoEE 2019i (graphic courtesy Commonwealth of Australia (Climate Change Authority) 2020).

In the report, the Authority updates its previous policy toolkit on economy-wide opportunities to reduce emissions for Australia to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. The report presents 35 recommendations to help transition Australia to a low emissions future, building on the Government’s current climate change policy settings to drive down emissions in the transport, industrial, electricity, agriculture and land, and waste sectors.

As well, the updated toolkit aims to empower businesses, governments, communities, and families to take action to reduce their emissions and help them better prepare for the changes in our climate that are already locked in.

As an open economy, Australia needs continued access to global markets which will be transitioning to low emissions goods and services The Authority emphasises that Australia’s future prosperity will be best served by participating in strong global action to reduce emissions and planning for and managing the impacts of the global transition.

The updated toolkit seeks to provide a clear, long-term signal to businesses, investors and communities on the global transition to a net-zero emissions world and to ensure the transition is well managed so new jobs and benefits flow to regions and communities.

We need to position our economy for the coming changes in global trade and investment markets and seize on the opportunities before us, or risk being left behind, Dr Craik said.

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