Industry has welcomed the upgraded Paris emissions targets, signed in June by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen.
According to Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox, the consultative and careful approach will be important to maintain as future targets are developed.
“Lifting Australia’s national emissions target for 2030 to 43 per cent is a significant step and we should not underestimate the broad community effort and extensive policy development that will be needed to achieve it. Industry will play its part in delivering deep emissions cuts that put us on the road to net zero emissions,” Willox said.
“Crucial sectors with high emissions, like aluminium, chemicals and steel, are already charting their course and the technical options that can deliver low or zero emissions. The challenge will be to make those options investable and keep industry competitive all the way through this journey.”
Willox said that clear national directions on climate are essential to investment decisions in the energy sector as well.
“Amidst intense concerns about energy prices and supply, it is more important than ever to give this clear steer to the builders and operators of the new energy assets we will need to get out of our current mess,” he said.
The new targets are a result of extensive consultations the Australian government underwent while in Opposition, with business and other stakeholders in recent years. It gathered evidence and analysis on what was achievable.
“There were no surprises following a sound process. The same approach will need to be maintained as the government considers future targets,” Willox said.
“While debate about even higher ambition for 2030 will continue, Australia will also need to develop its post-2030 Paris commitments during this term of office. Broad consultation with industry and the wider community, strong independent advice and a clear evidence base will be needed.”
He also said that the directions flagged by the government for regular Parliamentary statements and advice by a strengthened Climate Change Authority are positive and could be comparable in effect to other proposals put to the Parliament in recent years.
“Australia has taken a broadly supported step forward on its current target. It would be an even greater advance if consensus can be achieved on the framework for setting future targets,” Willox said.