Can Australia Go Net-Zero by 2050? Climate Change Facts

We Discuss the Question: Can Australia Go Net-Zero by 2050?

By Jane Marsh

Australia has lots of potential to go green and reach net-zero emissions. It has an enormous population and produces a lot of energy and food, but the government has much work to do to become more eco-friendly.

Australia has dragged its feet for quite some time surrounding climate change, but it does have plans to reduce emissions. However, it may not be happening quickly enough. For Australia to become a net-zero economy, it needs to change various sectors like energy and electricity.

Here’s a deeper look at the country’s steps to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Australia’s Plans to Achieve Net-Zero

Australia’s plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is bold and ambitious. The country has committed to cutting output 26% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

This goal aligns with the Paris Agreement, which calls for an 80% cut in global emissions by 2050. If Australia meets this goal, it can avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius warming over preindustrial levels and millions of temperature-related deaths by 2100.

However, Australia has some of the highest emissions per person and is one of the largest exporters of fossil fuels. It has also taken a long time to take action on climate change.

Still, the country’s current plan for meeting its targets involves many programs — including energy efficiency improvements, renewable power generation, transportation infrastructure upgrades and clean coal technology.

Australia would need to halt its coal and gas emissions to reach net-zero. Its electricity grid needs to be 100% renewable, including green sources powering all transport, heating and cooling, industrial processes and waste management systems.

However, there are plenty of other ways Australia could reach net-zero much faster if its government enacted credible climate policy changes. Here are a few examples.

Can Australia Go Net-Zero by 2050? Solar power station in White Cliffs, NSW, Australia.
White Cliffs Solar Power Station, Australia’s first solar power station operated between 1981 and 2004
Credit: Richard Gifford from Sydney, Australia – flickr:P1060704.JPG

Require All Buildings to Be Electric

Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM), which manages how much each state can use electricity, is currently working with several companies to build all-electric buildings. They will generate less energy than traditional structures while saving money by avoiding transmission lines and power plants.

All-electric buildings will require distributed energy storage (DESS) — a giant battery pack that the country can install in every home and business. DESS stockpiles energy when electricity demand is low and sends it back into the grid when it’s high. They can be combined with solar panels to store excess sun and wind power when there isn’t enough energy.

Increase Renewable Energy

Australia has a lot of renewable energy opportunities. The country has huge solar power reserves, which it can harness by installing panels on rooftops and fields. It also has a large amount of wind energy that it can use to power turbines. These renewable resources can reduce the country’s carbon footprint and provide 20% of its energy needs by 2030.

One way Australia could increase its use of renewable energy is by increasing the number of people who own solar panels or wind turbines. If more people had access to these technologies, they could generate more power themselves instead of relying on other sources.

Electrify All New Vehicles

Australia could significantly offset carbon emissions by introducing all-electric vehicles (EVs). However, this move would require increasing access to EVs through subsidies and tax breaks for buyers. It would also need to build a new infrastructure that includes installing charging points along major thoroughfares and highways.

This will make it easier for EV drivers to recharge during long journeys, reducing the need for overnight charging sessions.

Decarbonize Agriculture

Agriculture is also a key player in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The country’s agriculture sector is responsible for up to 13% of its total greenhouse gas emissions, which is expected to grow with rising temperatures. The current solution is to reduce pollution by planting more trees around farms and using biofuels from plants instead of fossil fuels.

However, this approach has some problems. First, it can take decades before these changes affect carbon levels. More importantly, it needs to address the issue of food production.

While there are some major challenges ahead, Australia believes it can create a more sustainable future by investing in technologies that help reduce emissions from agriculture production.

Achieving Net-Zero by 2050 Can Happen if Australia Tries

Australia is one of the most resourceful countries in the world. While it has taken longer than expected to commit to reducing emissions, it’s doing its part in climate change mitigation efforts. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before Australia can achieve net-zero by 2050.