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The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency states that if Australia takes no action by 2020 our carbon pollution could be 20 per cent higher than in 2000, not 5 to 25% lower as the Government intends.

According to many environmental groups and The Greens the current government target of 5 to 25% by 2020 will not be enough to avert dangerous climate change and suggest we should be aiming to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2020.


Is this possible?
Reducing GHG emissions can protect Australia’s economy into the future, provide immediate benefits for society and create profitable opportunities for businesses.

Climate Works Australia has developed a Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between now and 2020 at low cost.

Climate Works research found that Australia has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 249 MtCO2e by 2020—a 25% reduction from 2000 levels—at an average annual cost to society of A$185 per household without changing lifestyle or the mix of businesses that comprise Australia’s economy.

The plan identifies 54 separate opportunities—across all sectors—that can be implemented over the next ten years to reduce emissions in Australia to 25% below 2000 levels.

Almost one third of these emissions reduction opportunities offer a net savings to society, and the remaining two thirds have a weighted average cost of A$41 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

The Plan outlines a range of actions including:

1. Changes to the power sector including  shifts to more renewable energy from onshore wind, coal to gas shift, and solar thermal with storage 

2. Reaffforestation and reduced deforestation

3. Introducing a carbon price

4. Implementing energy efficiency and new technologies in the industrial sector

5. Soil carbon sequestration and other agriculture improvements

6. Improved efficiencies in commercial and residential buildings

7. Improving vehicle fuel efficiency

8. Using more public transport 


The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation

In addition the Treasurer and the Minister for Climate Change and Water released Australia's Low Pollution Future: The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation on 30th October 2008.

This report presents the results of the Treasury's economic modelling of the potential economic impacts of reducing emissions over the medium and long term. It spans global, national and sectoral scales, and looks at distributional impacts, such as the implications of emission pricing for the goods and services that households consume.

The Treasury's modelling demonstrates that early global action is less expensive than later action; that a market-based approach allows robust economic growth into the future even as emissions fall; and that many of Australia's industries will maintain or improve their competitiveness under an international agreement to combat climate change.

The modelling shows that Australia and the world continue to prosper while making the emission cuts required to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change. 

Introduction of a Carbon Price 

As of July 1st 2012,  Australia’s biggest polluters are required to pay for their pollution under the Australian Government's carbon pricing mechanism ("The Carbon Tax"). This creates a powerful incentive for all businesses to cut their pollution, by investing in clean technology or finding more efficient ways of operating. For more information visit .


Low carbon growth plan (Australian Climate Works)




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