Australia is likely to loose a great deal if climate change continues in a big way. This is because Australia already has a large part of the country unbearably hot. If the temperature increases another 2-5 degrees these areas might well become impossible to survive within.
This is why it is so strange that Australia is so backwards in this respect.
Currently, Australia gets a great deal of money by selling coal abroad. This is because Australia is incredibly rich in coal. As a result they are keen to be able to put off zero carbon as long as possible as they will loose this income.
Professor Lesley Huges is a climate specialist, that has just been appointed to the Australia climate change authority and she has quite rightly stated that 2050 net zero is not good enough. Encouragingly, though she has also said that the new government was showing a willingness to listen to science. The Climate change minister has appointed 3 new members after it was suggested that the authority was to heavily weighted in the direction of business and fossil fuels (if there are too many representatives from this part of the market, then concerns about global warming are likely to get less voice, as fossil fuel companies know they only have a finite length of time to make money from resources that are likely to be banned in the future).
The Albanese government has tightened their greenhouse emissions cut targets – they are now targeting 43% by 2030, up from 26% under the last administration.
This legislation appears to be well written. It requires the advice to be publicly released. Not only this, but if the minister then rejects the advice they must explain why.
Now it should be noted, that Professor Hughes has called for a 75% cut in the next decade, but agrees that a 43% cut is moving in the right direction.
How could these cuts be managed? Well 51.2% of Australias emissions come from transport and eletricity generation. There is a further 20% emissions from stationary energy (including manufacturing, mining, residential and commercial fuel use). These three areas combined could add up to 71.2% carbon emissions. Furthermore not only would it save money, but also the planet.
Therefore, if all of Australias transport goes electric, alongside all their stationary energy, the emissions of Australia could be halved.
Australia has the capability to wipe out most of its emissions from electricity generation – it is one of the most reliably sunny countries in the world, making it perfect for huge solar farms. Currently Australia uses about 230 billion kwh per year, or 630,000,000 kwh per day, which equates to about 25 kwh per person per day. If we assume we need to treble this to deal with all transport and stationary storage, we arrive at a figure of roughly 2 billion kwh per day.
Australia is a very sunny place, so we can assume about 10 hours of sun per day. That means we need the capability to create about 200,000,000 per hour. This sounds like a huge amount, and it is. However, one square mile of solar can produce over million kwh per day. This means that Austrania would only need about 200 square miles of solar panels. Given that Australia is about 3 million square miles, this is very small.
Should this be split with wind turbines (this already supplies 10% of the electricity that Australia consumes), the amount of energy storage could be kept to a minimum.
While this would not be cheap, its cost would be dwarfed by the cost of dealing with run away climate change.
Any voices that are arguing the sensible move can only be good. Will it happen? Who knows, though if the current government remains in office it is more likely than it was under the former administration.