Australia could halve carbon emissions by 2030


Policy, Climate Change


An intensive, targeted strategy for reducing emissions in capital cities could halve Australia's emissions by 2030, a new report claims.

Credit: iStockphoto

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A new study has revealed Australian cities could halve their greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years.

The research, commissioned by the City of Sydney and presented last week, shows a targeted strategy to reduce carbon emissions in Australia's capital cities, like the Sustainable Sydney 2030 program, has the potential to slash emissions by 48 million tones in the year 2030.

It could also result in a cumulative emissions reduction of 540 million tonnes between 2010 and 2030 - roughly equivalent to the annual total emissions from the whole of Australia in 2008, including all sectors - energy, industry, waste and agriculture - or as the research says, the equivalent of Australia being carbon zero for a year.

These modelled emission reductions are four times greater than independent analysis has predicted will be achieved across all of Australia's buildings as a result of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The Centre for International Economics Australia estimates residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

"The report shows that if Australian cities implement measures like those in our Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, we could collectively halve emissions in our cities within 20 years, making a very significant contribution towards reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions," said Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

"The City of Sydney has a comprehensive plan in place to reduce our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, using integrated actions and mature technologies including tri-generation, building retrofits, simple transport improvements and renewable energy," she said.

"These real and tangible proactive changes are already underway in other Australian cities too, and need to be reflected in Australia's commitment to national targets in Copenhagen."

The new report "shows there is real scope to significantly increase national targets", Moore said, and added that after last Friday's meeting of Capital City Lord Mayors, the attending Mayors had agreed to further the research before Copenhagen.