Emis­sion tar­get vi­tal to busi­ness

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

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

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