Greenhouse emissions stable over decade
A new report found that greenhouse gas emissions have not increased in Australia in the past decade, despite a 31% economic growth over the same time period.
The findings indicate that the conversion to a “green economy” does not have to be painful, and it is already happening in the Australian industry.
ClimateWorks at Monash University released a report today that said stabilizing emissions levels in spite of economic growth could be achieved by reducing deforestation and increasing tree planting, improving industry energy efficiency, and slashing power emissions.
The study concluded that more must be done to avoid catastrophic climate changes.
Australia has made progress, but it is still only on track to reach 40% of its national target of reducing domestic emission levels by 5% by 2020.
Amandine Denis is the co-author of the report and head of ClimateWorks’ research. She said that previous climate science research had found that Australia needed to reduce its greenhouse gas emission levels by at least 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020 in order to maintain levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases at 450 ppm equivalent carbon dioxide or lower.
Has shown that limiting the increase of global temperature to 2degC is possible by maintaining atmospheric greenhouse gas levels at this level.
Our analysis shows that this is possible in Australia using domestic technology. Ms Denis said that we can achieve more than the current goals.
Researchers found that there is potential to reduce emissions by nearly three times the current rate.
She said that the largest areas for reduction were in the land and power sectors. This included replacing coal-generated power plants with renewables, increasing afforestation, and improving energy efficiency.
Now that emissions are stable, it’s time to reduce them.
Pep Canadell is the executive director of CSIRO’s Global Carbon Project. He welcomed the report.
The report is a good one, as it shows that key policies on energy and land use are starting to work. It also shows that economic growth can be decoupled from the development of emissions, said Dr Canadell.
It is possible to examine in depth which policies are working and which ones are not based on the contributions they make to stabilising emissions and economic growth. We must realize that we will need to decarbonize the entire energy system. This requires new policies to tackle the harder aspects of the necessary transformation.
Chris Riedy is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney. He said that the findings are consistent with the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
The total emissions of Australia have remained relatively constant over the past decade. Land clearing and waste reductions have helped offset the ongoing increase in emissions in other sectors. “The recent decrease in electricity demand, and the associated emissions have been really important to halting the growth of emissions,” said Associate Prof. Reidy, who was not part of the new study.