The Australian government plans to achieve net zero emission target by 2050 without having to shut down its coal and gas operations. Australia is one of the top producers of liquefied natural gas and the world’s second biggest coal exporter.
The plan aims to preserve jobs and generate new opportunities for industries and regions in Australia while delivering the 2050 target.
“It will not shut down coal or gas production, or require displacement of productive agricultural land,” said Minister for Industry, Energy, and Emission Reduction Angus Taylor in a statement on Tuesday.
Net zero emission target
The technology-driven plan will run on five principles: technology not taxes; expand choices not mandates; drive down the cost of a range of new technologies; keep energy prices down with affordable and reliable power; and, be accountable for progress.
“Unlike Labor, we won’t introduce a carbon tax that drives Australian jobs overseas and punishes the most vulnerable in our community through higher prices for electricity and other essentials,” Taylor said.
Under the plan, Australia aims to reduce its emission by 35% by 2030 and 85% by 2050. The country’s emissions fell by 20.8% between 2005 and 2021, he said.
Over the next decade, Australia’s existing $20bn investment in low emissions technology is expected to unlock at least $80bn of total private and public investment, including in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and energy storage, Taylor said.
In the right direction
Prakash Sharma, Wood Mackenzie Asia-Pacific head of markets and transitions, said: “Australia’s desire to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is a step in the right direction.
“Our analysis shows that Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050,” said Sharma in an emailed statement today. “This will require Australia to become a significant player in low-carbon hydrogen trade as well as being able to offer carbon storage and offset services.”
Nearly 83% of Australia’s power generation comes from solar and wind by 2050 as compared with about 20% last year, according to Wood Mackenzie. Natural gas, bioenergy, geothermal and small modular reactor will supply the remaining 17% in power output. Coal into power is expected to be phased out by 2035, the firm added.