New report by Dr Mark Diesendorf: Pathways to a low carbon future

10 October 2007

What would Australia look like in 2020 if our Governments got serious about climate change? According to Dr Mark Diesendorf we can cut our greenhouse pollution by 30% by 2020, but only if we get really serious about shifting from coal to renewables, massively increasing energy efficiency and decarbonising our transport fleet. We will also need to eliminate land-clearing and deforestation and change some of our lifestyle choices to make significant reductions in greenhouse pollution. With both Federal Labor and the Coalition refusing to set short-term targets to reduce greenhouse pollution this report is sure to be a conversation starter. The take-home message is we can achieve deep cuts to greenhouse pollution, but the longer we wait the more difficult it gets. And as Nicholas Stern highlighted, the longer we delay the bigger the impact will be for our economies and well as the environment. Abstract of the report: "Interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential to put Australia on track toward the deep emissions cuts required by 2050. This report finds that by 2020, emission reductions of greater than 30 per cent below 1990 levels are possible, but only with a wide range of concerted actions in the energy, industry and land-use sectors. If the contributions from energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors are combined into a single category, energy efficiency emerges as the major source of greenhouse gas reduction to 2020. Renewable electricity with gas cogeneration could provide the largest potential "wedge" of supply-side reduction. Other large potential emission savings could be obtained from halting land clearing and cutting fugitive emissions from fossil fuel production and distribution. Urgent policy development and implementation, by both federal and state governments, is needed to facilitate these and other technologies and measures."Download the full report: Pathways to a low carbon future