Climateworks has welcomed the release of the government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement.
Climateworks’ analysis shows that accelerated development and deployment of mature and emerging technologies are critical to ensure that Australia reaches net zero emissions by 2050 and creates a vibrant and resilient economy in a decarbonising world. Government investment is essential to achieve this acceleration and to unlock the opportunities available to Australia. To be most effective, investment should be aligned with a trajectory to net zero emissions by 2050, and complemented with other policies to increase the pace of adoption.
Australia has entered the transformational decade for climate action. We need to move quickly to grasp opportunities – or risk getting left behind. Without action aligned to reaching net zero emissions, our economy risks being straddled with stranded assets. All Australia’s states and territories have stated their ambition to move to net zero emissions by 2050, something widely supported by Australian industries and major investors.
The priority technologies considered in the Technology Roadmap are all critical in supporting this transition. They target some of the areas within electricity, heavy industry and nature-based solutions that will be key enablers to decarbonise Australia’s economy and represent exciting economic opportunities.
The priority low emissions technologies outlined are an important start but the ambition does not yet go far enough. While welcome, the level of investment is still less than that announced by other major economies such as Germany and South Korea. It is also lower than the figure our research shows as required to make the most from the coming economic transition.
Many of the technologies required to achieve net zero by 2050 do not receive as much support through the roadmap or other government action. In particular, mature technologies such as energy efficiency and electric vehicles will be key to the emissions reductions required this decade and need government support to accelerate their deployment beyond business-as-usual penetration rates.
The investment and action created through the Technology Investment Roadmap would be most effective if it aligned with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, as supported by states, territories, businesses and investors. This would ensure that the investment goes towards technologies that will be in demand in a world where our export partners are acting in line with the Paris Climate goals. It would also ensure that the scale of investment is on par with what is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. For example, for Australia to lead in hydrogen exports, it will need to consider how it can scale hydrogen generated using renewable energy. The EU has already set a target for renewable hydrogen to be at price parity by 2030.
Climateworks’ latest research, Decarbonisation Futures, provides a set of benchmarks for emissions, energy use and technology deployment for 1.5–2 degrees Celsius, including the level of technology deployment by 2030 and 2050 consistent with these temperature limits. These benchmarks are available to guide Technology Investment Roadmap actions (see details in the table below).
Australia can get on a path to net zero emissions by 2050. It is time to grasp these opportunities for more jobs, a stronger economy, better health and a safer environment.
Decarbonisation Futures analysis of net zero emissions pathways:
Sample additional technologies and goals by major abatement opportunities