This report analyses targets, policies and programs announced by Australian federal, state and territory governments, with a focus on policies introduced since the publication of our previous report on state and territory climate action.
Building on previous emissions reduction commitments (our 2021 report found that state and territory interim targets translated to an estimated 37–42 per cent reduction below 2005 emissions by 2030, Australia-wide) the states and territories continue to increase their climate action, allocating billions of dollars to emissions reduction measures and making significant regulatory and legislative changes.
At a national level, the federal government this year legislated national emissions reduction targets of 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, reflecting an increase in ambition.
Below are some examples of targets and policies announced since the last report.
- For states and territories, renewable energy targets represent an implied, Australia-wide target of 69 per cent by 2030 – a considerable improvement from last year’s calculation of 55 per cent.
- Federal government, Will invest $20 billion in improving the capacity of the transmission network and will implement a National Energy Performance Strategy to accelerate energy efficiency and action on the demand side.
- For states and territories, announcements represent an implied, Australia-wide zero-emission vehicle sales target of 46 per cent by 2030 – an improvement from last year’s calculation of 30 per cent.
- Federal government opened consultation on fuel efficiency standards, focusing on light and commercial vehicles but also including heavy vehicle classes.
- Across all governments, Building Ministers agreed to update the National Construction Code to improve the minimum energy performance of new homes from six to seven stars.
- In states and territories, announced funding for hydrogen hubs in Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
- Federal government is investing $1.9 billion through the Powering the Regions fund and $3 billion through the National Reconstruction Fund to help decarbonise existing industries and develop new low-carbon industries.
- States and territories have commenced introducing a range of initiatives, including biodiversity and carbon certification as well as research and development to reduce emissions from agriculture.
- The federal government announced plans for a biodiversity certificates scheme.
The report shows that policy strengths vary by jurisdiction. Governments – in Australia and around the world – have an opportunity to learn from and build on the progress of their counterparts, and to collaborate on addressing the emissions reductions and economic transformations needed to achieve net zero emissions.
The policies and programs detailed in this report demonstrate increased momentum in federal, state and territory climate policy. They also show how much more can and needs to be done for Australia to play its part in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The window for keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C is narrowing, but the goal is still possible if ambitious benchmarks are met this decade.
Climateworks’ 1.5°C modelling in Decarbonisation Futures shows that by 2030 in Australia:
- Total annual emissions are 74 per cent below 2005 levels
- Renewables generate 79 per cent of electricity
- Electric vehicles could represent 76 per cent of new car sales in 2030
Currently, at least one jurisdiction in Australia has set a target and introduced an implementation strategy aligned (or nearly aligned) to each of the Decarbonisation Futures’ benchmarks. But significant work is still needed to achieve these and other key transitions across the entire Australian economy.
In some areas, the federal government controls policy levers that have wider-reaching impacts than initiatives implemented by individual states. In other areas, the federal government can amplify the impact of state and territory initiatives by providing additional support to activities already underway.
Throughout the report, we identify how federal, state and territory policy can work together to bring Australian climate action closer to the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.