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Queensland commits to zero net emissions by 2050

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Queensland’s Labor state government has become the latest in Australia to commit to a target of zero net emissions by 2050, adding momentum to the state-based carbon reduction effort and putting further pressure on the federal government’s own unambitious climate goals.

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The state’s new Climate Transition and Adaptation Strategies were unveiled on Tuesday by deputy Premier Jackie Trad and environment minister Steven Miles, laying out the Palaszczuk government’s plans to drastically reduce carbon pollution and ready Queensland’s communities for the impacts of a warmer climate.

The new plan puts the Queensland government on the same page as the Labor governments in the ACT, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, each of which have also committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

Most states also have interim emissions targets – Queensland is targeting at least a 30 per cent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 – as well as ambitious renewable energy targets; Queensland has committed to shift at least 50 per cent of its energy generation to renewables, also by 2030.

The federal Coalition, meanwhile, has targeted emissions reductions of 26–28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, with no further climate goals set beyond that date.

“In the absence of any climate change policy from the Turnbull government it is the states who are doing the heavy lifting to ensure Australia does its fair share to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees,” Trad said in comments on Tuesday.

“Setting a target of zero net emissions by 2050 sends a clear message that Queensland will be a leader in the low carbon economy.

“This will attract new investment and industries to our state, ensuring sustainable jobs for Queenslanders into the future.

Trad said she would join other state leaders at a roundtable meeting of state governments and former US vice president and climate leader Al Gore in Melbourne later this week to further discuss climate strategy.

“In Melbourne on Thursday I will discuss with my counterparts from other states how we can work together to ensure that as Australians we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement,” she said.

“We shouldn’t have to keep the Turnbull Government’s promises for them, but for the sake of our communities, our industries and our environment we have to step up.”

Miles added that action at a state and national level was key to preserving the Great Barrier Reef, for which climate change was one of its biggest threats.

“The world is watching what we do to protect our Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“We must drive down emissions to prevent further coral bleaching events like the ones we’ve seen recently.

“But it also means Queenslanders get to go on enjoying their way of life. It means more stable jobs in the industries of the future, giving our farmers a chance to thrive, making sure we can enjoy our incredible natural environment with clean air and soil and water.”  

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  • George Darroch

    Good on them for putting a target on the table.

    • MaxG

      How much credit does it have given the support of Adani and coal?

      • Kevan Daly

        If the Adani coal isn’t burnt in Qld it doesn’t contribute to Qld emissions.

      • Joe

        Yes, too right. It is about time that “exported emissions” are taken into account. I get tired of hearing the argument that China is the bogeyman in the global emissions argy bargy argument. Western Countries are quite happy to receive the cheap consumer goods from China but that has happened because Western countries have outsourced the manufacture and with that emissions have been exported that would otherwise have been produced ‘at home’ if the goods were made ‘at home’. The emissions from Coal Exports need to be accounted for by the country of origin. And no more weasel words or excuses about Coal reducing poverty….RE is quite capable of doing that and the health benefits that go with breathing clean air!

  • Neil_Copeland

    Sounds good, while at the same time exporting over 200 million tonnes of coal to be burned somewhere else that will not be counted in QLD emissions.

    https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/invest/mining/resources-potential/mineral-resources/coal-resources

    • Kevan Daly

      Sorry Neil. I replied to MaxG before getting to your more substantive comment.

  • MaxG

    The target is too far out — and remember: it is politician speak… anyone believing a politician?

    • solarguy

      I believed Abbott when he promised to stuff things up……….the havoc is now history!

      • MaxG

        His legacy is still being felt, playing out and keeps developing under the current leadership…

  • Brunel

    Is this electricity only emissions?

  • Ken Dyer

    Now all they have to do is impose a coal tax. That will stop the Adani nonsense…..

    https://theconversation.com/a-coal-tax-to-help-the-climate-and-the-resource-owners-49942

  • John Elliott

    Noble aspiration, my home state of Queensland. However……my quick calculations suggest that the annual emissions from the 60 million tonnes of projected annual coal output from the Adani Carmichael mine will be roughly the same as Queensland’s total annual (electricity) emissions at present. In other words, the global environmental damage from approving the mine will be twice the size of the benefits that come from reducing Qld’s emissions by 50% by 2030.

    This doesn’t matter of course, because the exported coal will be burnt overseas in some other planet’s atmosphere, won’t it?

    P.S. Could someone with some serious credentials please check my maths. I have assumed 60 million tonnes per year from the mine, 1300 kg of emissions per tonne of Carmichael coal burnt, 9GW of electricity generation year-round in Qld before reductions, and 1 tonne of emissions per MWh for (mostly coal-fired) generation here in Qld.

    • neroden

      Thank goodness the Adani mine will never operate because it is blatantly unprofitable and can’t be financed. India has explicitly committed to eliminating imported coal and *despite this* is shutting down domestic coal mines. China’s policy is even more extreme. There’s just no market for the Adani coal.

      • Mike Dill

        Whoever blinks first will be charged with breaking the Adani coal contract. As far as I know, whoever breaks the contract pays the breakup fee. Adani has publicly stated it will move forward while eliminating the current funding. QLD is doing the same.