Australia left behind on renewables | Liverpool City Champion
Australia is not doing enough to cut carbon emissions and risks being left behind as other countries rush to embrace renewables.
These are the striking findings of a new report examining the performance of countries around the world.
The annual global status report of the REN21 international network found that 165 countries have set renewable energy targets in key sectors of their economies.
Australia was not one of them.
The report underscored the need for governments to prioritize renewable energy through binding sector targets, strong policies and strict regulations.
Australia’s main mechanism to support renewable energy development expired in 2019 and has never been replaced.
Kane Thornton of the Clean Energy Council said states and territories have found themselves doing the heavy lifting when it comes to reducing emissions.
He said the report was another reminder that urgent action was needed over the next decade for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
“Renewable energy can generate strong economic growth while reducing Australia’s carbon footprint and meeting Australia’s international commitments,” Thornton said.
“The clean energy industry has been the biggest contributor to Australia’s emissions reductions over the past decade and has proven its ability to meet and beat any targets set for it.”
Australia ranked 14th for total renewable energy capacity with 50 gigawatts.
The Clean Energy Council estimates that renewable energy projects under development could generate an additional 47 gigawatts.
“The current pipeline of renewable energy projects could secure nearly 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs,” Thorton said.
“Our industry is poised to offer career paths that deliver clean, low-cost energy that the future workforce can truly aspire to.”
The report found that renewables accounted for around 10 percent of Australia’s energy use, ranking the country 12th out of the 20 largest economies in the world.
Australia lagged behind Brazil, Canada, Turkey, the United States, Argentina and India.
But apart from India, Australia was ahead of all other G20 member countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia has also dominated the region in the use of renewable energy in mining.
“Renewable energy is Australia’s way of harnessing the opportunity for an electrified future, and there are huge benefits to our economy if we do well,” Thornton said.
“Australia has exceptional potential to do well in an ambitious climate change mitigation world – but only if we plan, prepare and invest in the emerging low and zero emission opportunities that lie before us.”
Associated Australian Press