New analysis of Australian state, territory and federal government climate policies and targets has found that the nation is making promising steps forward in some key areas, such as energy.

“With current state and territory commitments, we estimate that 69 per cent of the total electricity generation in Australia will be sourced from renewables in 2030,” says Alison Cleary, who leads the sustainable economies system at Climateworks Centre. 

“This is up 14 per cent from the equivalent figure in 2021, and much closer to our 1.5°C-aligned scenario, showing 79 per cent renewable generation by 2030.”

The release last week of the first Annual Climate Change Statement confirmed the federal government is aiming for a 82 per cent target for renewable energy generation by 2030. 

Momentum like this is crucial if Australia is to do its part to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It has become increasingly evident that this limit will result in significantly safer outcomes for the planet and the economy.

The federal government has also announced a $20 billion investment to improve the capacity of Australia’s transmission network, and will implement a National Energy Performance Strategy to accelerate energy efficiency and action on the demand side.

There is also some progress in transport and industry sectors. State and territory governments have an implied combined zero-emission vehicle sales target of 46 per cent by 2030 – an improvement from last year’s calculation of 30 per cent. 

In industry, the federal government is investing $1.9 billion through the Powering the Regions fund, and a further $3 billion through the National Reconstruction Fund to help decarbonise existing industries and develop new low-carbon industries.

In terms of overall emissions reduction targets, the federal government’s commitment to reduce 2030 emissions to 43 per cent below 2005 levels and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, brings them in step with last year’s states and territories’ targets (with an implied 37–42 per cent reduction below 2005 emissions by 2030, and all committed to net zero).

However there are still key areas, such as reducing land emissions, requiring increased efforts. States and territory initiatives, such as incentives for land managers to reduce emissions, and the federal government’s plans for a biodiversity certificates scheme are both steps in the right direction. 

More on our analysis is available in the report, Government climate action: Leading policies and programs in Australia, which provides a comprehensive, economy-wide survey of Australia’s climate policies and programs in 2022 – a library of federal, state and territory climate commitments, targets and actions. 

It focuses on policies in electricity, building, transport, industry and agriculture and land sectors that were introduced since the publication of our previous report on state and territory climate action in 2021.