Qld govt unveils aims for zero carbon pollution by 2050

Wednesday, 12 July, 2017

The Queensland government has announced its goal to drive carbon pollution down to zero by 2050 and become a leader in the clean growth economy.

The Queensland Climate Transition and Climate Adaptation Strategies were released yesterday by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Environment Minister Steven Miles, laying out the government’s plans for drastically reducing carbon pollution and readying communities for the impacts of a warmer climate. The Climate Transition Strategy specifically sets out plans to:

  • develop and implement a dedicated energy efficiency strategy for Queensland;
  • support small to medium enterprises to improve their energy efficiency;
  • explore establishing an energy efficiency certificate scheme; and
  • lead by example by reducing carbon emissions from government facilities.

“Setting a target of zero net emissions by 2050 sends a clear message that Queensland will be a leader in the low-carbon economy,” Trad said.

“This will attract new investment and industries to our state, ensuring sustainable jobs for Queenslanders into the future.”

The Deputy Premier said she will join a roundtable meeting of state governments and former US vice president Al Gore in Melbourne this week to discuss climate strategy. She said, “In Melbourne on Thursday I will discuss with my counterparts from other states how we can work together to ensure that as Australians we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement.

“We shouldn’t have to keep the Turnbull government’s promises for them, but for the sake of our communities, our industries and our environment we have to step up.”

Miles noted that climate change is one of the biggest threats to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, claiming that a reduction in emissions to prevent coral bleaching will be “vital to the future of the Reef”.

“But it also means Queenslanders get to go on enjoying their way of life,” he said. “It means more stable jobs in the industries of the future, giving our farmers a chance to thrive, making sure we can enjoy our incredible natural environment with clean air and soil and water.

“We’ve already seen a massive increase in construction and jobs in the Queensland renewable sector since the election of the Palaszczuk government.

“And that’s only going to grow now, with even more incentives for clean industries to set up shop in our state under our target for 50% renewables by 2030.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said that there is a pressing need for action on climate change, with the impacts of changing climate set to include “higher temperatures, more intense and more frequent heatwaves, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and more frequent coral bleaching as a result of warmer oceans”.

“This Adaptation Strategy is about how we manage the flow-on effects of those impacts in areas like tourism, agriculture, biodiversity and our tropical lifestyle here in Far North Queensland,” Crawford said.

“By using science to predict the future risks, we can build this into everyday decision-making, ensuring our infrastructure, businesses and communities are ready and resilient under changing conditions.”

The Climate Transition Strategy in particular has been welcomed by the Energy Efficiency Council, with the association claiming the strategy gives energy efficiency the focus it deserves.

“Ramping up energy efficiency is the quickest way to lower energy bills for Queenslanders,” said Council CEO Luke Menzel, who noted that the NSW government has in recent years been “leading the pack when it comes to smart energy use”.

“The Palaszczuk government’s announcement shows they are looking to challenge NSW leadership on energy efficiency, setting up a smart energy ‘state of origin’ between NSW and Queensland.”

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