Emission target vital to business
THINK tank Environment Business Australia (EBA) is calling for the federal Government to commit to binding targets for greenhouse (GHG) gas emission cuts. The advocacy group has released a new report, Targets for Our Future, which recommends cuts of 60 per cent by 2050, with an interim target of 20 per cent by 2020.
EBA chief executive Fiona Wain acknowledges that reaching the recommended targets would be a ‘‘ massive undertaking’’ for the country.
‘‘ It will require major policy changes in the next 12 months if we are to see the systemic infrastructure, financial, manufacturing, operational management and behavioural changes that are necessary,’’ she says.
‘‘ It’s time for new regulation that enforces energy efficiency performance and fast-tracks deployment of clean and renewable energy technologies. No major electricity market, anywhere in the world, has developed without government intervention and the clean energy market is the same.’’
The EBA report notes that voluntary measures are unlikely to lead fast enough to significant enough changes in technologies and behaviour.
‘‘ Business needs targets, timelines and milestones to get on with the task,’’ Wain says.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that in the next 25 years $24.3 trillion will need to be invested in new energy.
EBA says that funding should be directed towards low/zero emissions energy and Australia could take the lead by showing how it could be done.
The EBA report says a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 could be achieved through energy efficiency, recycling and fuel switching by using gas and co-generation electricity plants to replace coal-fired plants.
Hot rock geothermal energy use, which harnesses the earth’s heat from underground, solar thermal, marine wave generation and wind technologies could also be used.
EBA says adoption of the technologies would allow longer-horizon technologies such as clean coal, hydrogen, nuclear energy to be applied to the 2050 cuts.
EBA chairman Robert Purves says the Government must get on with setting greenhouse targets.
‘‘ If a meaningful target isn’t adopted by government and enforced, the task will become increasing difficult,’’ he says. ‘‘ We have to recognise the urgency of what is looming.’’
The 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders who met in Sydney last week to discuss climate change and other regional issues did not set any binding emissions targets.
The forum leaders signed a socalled Sydney Declaration, agreeing to work toward long term ‘‘ aspirational’’ goals to reduce emissions.
Matter of urgency: Robert Purves