The Australian government has been encouraged by engineers and technology scientists to “make up for lost time” and set itself a “monumental challenge” by establishing a target to erase the country’s carbon footprint by the year 2035, which is 15 years earlier than what is now envisaged.
The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering, which is comprised of close to 900 of the country’s most eminent scientists and engineers, has urged the government to establish the target of reaching net zero emissions in a mere 12 years, stating that this objective is feasible with the use of mature, low-carbon technology that is already available.
The United Nations Climate Change Ambition Summit was held in New York City overnight on Wednesday. The Australian government was not given a speaking slot in a “first movers and doers” leaders session because it did not present a major new vow to take action about the issue. There were thirty-four countries scheduled to speak during the first movers portion of the summit; however, the heads of state for some of the world’s worst polluting nations chose not to attend the gathering.
Later sessions on adaptation and decarbonization featured speeches from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, as well as the Assistant Minister of Climate Change, Jenny McAllister.
According to Dr. Barry Traill, head of Solutions for Climate Australia, although dozens of countries have put up fresh pledges, Australia is not included on that list.
We are the second largest exporter of coal in the world, as well as the second largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Since the last federal election, the Albanese government has given its approval to four new mines, and there are over one hundred new projects that are currently in the queue for approval,” he stated.
“In order to provide the people of Australia with a climate that is less hazardous, we require the cooperation of every nation on the planet. If we don’t do our part, why should they bother doing theirs?
Wong stated to media that Australia had an economy that relied heavily on fossil fuels, and that the government’s message was that it was “genuinely motivated to change that, and that is what we are working on.”
The goals that we have set for ourselves are really lofty. By the year 2030, we will be using more than 80 percent renewable energy… “That’s a significant change in such a short amount of time,” she commented.
According to Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, immediate and significant action is required to maintain the possibility of limiting increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius which is above pre-industrial levels.
It was stated that if a more ambitious aim were set – the current objective is to attain net zero by the year 2050 – it would accelerate technical progress and stimulate a major rise in clean investment across the country.
According to Dr. Katherine Woodthorpe, the president of the academy, there is an economic opportunity that Australia is not seizing to the fullest extent that it could.
“That is, in all honesty, how I see this situation. She said, “There is an opportunity; let’s make the most of it, let’s not squander it,” and I couldn’t agree more. It will be tremendous challenge to meet this aim, but it is feasible with quick and large-scale action to invest in skills and infrastructure, as well as political, policy, and regulatory support at all levels.
This week, the Climate Council issued a similar plea, claiming that in order for Australia to do its part in limiting warming to 1.5C, it required a 75% reduction by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. This is an increase from the existing minimum reduction target of 43%, and attaining net zero by 2035 is the goal.
According to the academy, although Australia’s current aims are in line with those of other countries, the country should be doing more because it is a wealthy industrialized nation with a huge carbon footprint.
It urged both the federal government and state governments to make the elimination of waste and emissions from manufacturing a top priority, as well as the support of the electrification of transport networks, including shipping and travel by sea and air, and the reduction of the impact of humans on biodiversity.
According to Woodthorpe, the warning from climate scientists is “unequivocal” and the indisputable evidence of climate-induced calamities.
“We would like to offer our congratulations to the federal government on the substantial progress that has been made to this point. On the other hand, it seems as though we are making up for lost time,” Woodthorpe observed. “Setting an ambitious target based on science… is a step toward a net zero future that there should be no regrets about.”
This week, a spokesperson for the minister responsible for climate change, Chris Bowen, stated that the government was taking “strong and urgent action on climate change and the massive economic reforms to get there.” This action included legislating targets and reforms to the safeguard mechanism that required action from large coal and gas facilities as well as heavy industry. According to the spokesperson, “Our plans are ambitious, but it is important to note that they are also achievable.”
The government of Australia made the announcement on Thursday that it has become one of the founding signatories of a worldwide convention to safeguard the high seas. This treaty will make it possible to create marine protected zones in regions of the ocean that are outside of national boundaries.
Tanya Plibersek, the minister for the environment, stated that the high seas covered over sixty percent of the earth’s surface, but that only about one percent of the oceans were protected. “This treaty will enable us to meet our global goal of protecting 30 % of our planet’s oceans,” she added. “This is a huge step in the right direction.”
Environmental advocacy organizations lauded Australia for playing a “leading role in ensuring that this essential treaty enters into force as quickly as possible.”