States must get Australia back on track, amid Turnbull’s climate train wreck

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Source: Climate Council 2017

The slow train wreck of climate change policy is still unfolding in Australia. National emissions are rising on the Federal Coalition’s watch, and Australia will fail to meet the meagre emissions cuts it pledged to the Paris Agreement.

Regressive political forces at the national level have seen states and territories step up and lead on climate change. But they’ll have to make the most of existing initiatives and ramp up public investment to maintain the momentum.

States and territories have outshined the federal government in recent years. From the ACT adopting a renewable energy target of 100 percent by 2020 to South Australia’s enthusiasm for solar-thermal and battery storage (as well as this week’s impressive announcements). Even the NSW Liberal government has set a target of zero emissions by 2050.

Victoria is a part of this story too. A year ago today, the Andrews government strengthened the state’s climate change laws after winning the support of The Greens and crossbenchers.

The legislation brought the state’s climate change laws inline with the Paris Agreement. It enshrined a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and requires the government to set interim Emissions Reduction Targets every five years.

The Andrews government’s 2017 legacy also includes the country’s first legislated ban on fracking and onshore gasfields as well as a Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 40 by 2025.

With state elections on the horizon, those who are concerned about climate change want to know one thing: How will the states and territories lead on climate change in 2018?

Despite alarming melting of the polar icecaps, unprecedented bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, and parts of the country experiencing record heat, the Turnbull government’s attention is on political scandals rather than substantive policy issues.

The pace of progress on climate policy in South Australia and Tasmania will become clear after elections in March. Here in Victoria, the government has plenty of time to secure gains before the state heads to the polls in November.

In the coming months the Andrews government will, for the first time, set Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030.

Victoria can help put Australia back on track but only with a commitment to science-based targets that are in line with the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5°Celsius. For Victoria to prepare its economy for the climate change challenge, it’s essential to do the heavy lift of cutting emissions now

In Australia’s most progressive state, a Labor government trumping Turnbull’s weak climate change targets will be popular with voters—especially environmentally conscious voters.

With global warming accelerating, progress on renewables and climate legislation must be followed by serious investment. This makes the budget the logical next step for climate change action.

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for climate change. Communities in rural and regional areas face qualitatively different impacts to those in urban and inner-city neighbourhoods. What unites them all is the need for government support.

The annual budget process is where governments reveal their priorities. Citizens look closely at budget allocations towards healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

When will we see governments make investing in climate change action a priority?

It will take a sizeable public investment to prepare our cities and towns for the impacts of climate change. A clear program of infrastructure investment is needed to cope with the impact of rising sea levels, increased bushfire risk, and extreme weather. And projects to rein in emissions need support too.

If preparing our communities and economy for the immediate impact and future challenges isn’t the preserve of government, then what is?

Climate change is not going away. If the Federal Coalition government won’t lead then it’ll be up to the states and territories to do the lifting.

The first government to commit to a ‘climate-focused’ budget would position itself as a national leader.
Leigh Ewbank is Friends of the Earth’s Act on Climate coordinator. He has been active the climate and energy policy debate since 2008. You can follow Leigh on Twitter at @TheRealEwbank.  

  • Peter F

    While I strongly agree with the sentiments, this article is waste of space. Where are the actions or suggested solutions.
    Victoria has peak grid demand of 9.1 GW. It has 1.7 GW of hydro including its share on Snowy. It can count on 400 MW of hydro from Tassie and maybe if most of the SA storage projects get up another 400 MW from there I.e there is a 6-7,000 MW despatchable gap.
    What is the answer ??

    • Thucydides

      Total replacement of decades worth of energy assets and market practice is not going to happen overnight. But look at what has happened already despite an unsympathetic regulatory environment. Look at what is already in the project pipeline.

      The suggested solution is in the conclusion to the article. Imagine what might happen if we elect state and federal governments that cooperate to implement policies based on science and the long term interests of the nation, rather than the interests of their wealthy backers.

      • Andrew Scott

        About 10 years ago SA Premier Mike Wran (Labor) and Prime Minister John Howard (Liberal) were able to co-operate and jointly fund and facilitate the $1,800 million Adelaide Desalination project that now guarantees water security for this Capital city.

        In retrospect it looks like an excellent precedent for the type of joint governments action that is required now to establish large scale Pumped Storages with Hydro Electric Stations and associated infrastructure to guarantee energy security. (see example re a SA option in my earlier reply to Peter F)

    • Andrew Scott

      We can agree that the storage projects being looked at in SA so far are very small cf the storages needed in the overall scheme that would be required.

      Bigger pumped storage alternatives could be investigated at other places such as the large plateau between Whyalla and Port Augusta.

      There is plenty of space there, at 270 metres elevation, for numerous ‘turkeynest’ storage ponds each of say ten million tonnes capacity.

      The potential energy in each such pond (1 km square and 10 metres deep) would be sufficient to return more than 6,000 MWhrs of electrical energy to the grid.

      Pick the MW generating rate you require in your power station and the duration for which you want to be able operate, then dial up the number of ponds needed to supply it.
      Presumably there are Victorian and NSW sites where a similar approach to identify pumped storages could be taken to support the system.

      • Peter F

        No in fact SA will have plenty of storage if most of the current projects go ahead it will have about 1,500 MW or more. Together with new wind and solar and average demand of only 1,500 MW, that should enable it to get to between 85 and 90% renewables.

        The big step is in Victoria where demand is falling and behind the meter batteries are creeping in. If you commission a new pumped hydro scheme and you are right there are plenty of sites, customer or windfarm owned batteries may make it obsolete before it is built. If customers install less than expected then you may have a huge gap.
        My original point was that there was no hint of a plan or even a suggested mix of assets that might solve the problem

        • Andrew Scott

          Yes we need a plan.
          Arguing for it and developing it should be at the top of our priority list.

          The first challenge is to agree the magnitude of the aim,
          then the urgency for achieving it.
          Subsequently exploration of a mix of options/assets/systems etc.
          Etc etc

          Regarding the magnitude of the aim:
          We advocates for uptake of renewable energy must cease accepting and pursuing targets of only 100% (or less) renewable penetration of the energy supply systems within each state and territory, to be achieved a decade or more into the future.

          We must seek to go further and faster to eliminate fossil fuelled systems throughout Australia ASAP. We must simultaneously strive to assist in replacing similar fossil fuelled systems in neighbouring countries and further overseas.

          There are plenty of Australian precedents for this bigger picture and more ambitious way of thinking and acting.

          Australian Farmers who produce wheat, meat, wine etc etc do not constrain their production and marketing aims to local demands. They strive to produce far in excess of domestic requirements so that they can export to the world.
          The production, harvesting, storages and transport systems devised to do this are at a scale far greater than a minimalist and just in time domestic system would require.

          Our thinking about farming our renewable energy resources has to be lifted from its current parochial domestic horizons.

    • Alastair Leith

      SEN ( has consider various penetrations of RE on the island SWIS grid in WA’s south west. The peak demand on SWIS peaks at ~4,000 MW a bit less than Victoria’s 7,797 MW 2016/17.

      There’s already a lot of CC and peaker gas turbines on the SWIS, very underutilised though gas makes up ~40% of generation, thanks to govt incentives to overcapitalise on gas reserves after the blackouts years ago.

      In fact even without interlinks to other states, WA could get to 85% RE penetration with existing gas and a smaller component of new CC/OC GTs meeting the shortfall in winter during the wind droughts we get accompanied with overcast weather. And the noteworthy fact is that the gas consumption would increase in the immediate term but by the time it’s at 85% penetration then gas would be a full third of current levels over the year. It’s strictly a gap filler role. Other forms of storage would be in that space, but it’s the lack of recharge for a week or two at a time that impacts their cost benefit performance.

      This has all been modelled with accurate SIREN software that derives dispatchability at any time of the year from historical satellite derived weather data from NASA and using NREL’s SAM software. It’s all been tested with correlation testing on the existing network and previous year hourly demand and weather data and there’s a high correlation.

      Plantation timber of coppiced mallee gums on clear agricultural land could supply biomass stockpiles for a winter use, biofuel generation industry, reducing dryland salinity, winter water logging on cropping land and creating regional jobs (and the financial viability of recently closed tier III rail lines which if running would reduce transport emissions for cropping produce and biomass material). That would see 100% RE. I expect power2gas to offer biomass a run for it’s money before WA gets to 85%, but who knows exactly, I can say the cost of electrolysis is falling fast and at 85% RE penetration there’s a lot of spilled generation from wind (and solar but more wind) that will be “wasted” without grid scale storage.

      • Peter F

        This is very interesting Alistair, by the time we even get to 50-55% we will have a much better handle on storage/demand response so I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this stage.

        Some low wind windfarms in Brazil are reaching 57% capacity factors, so deliberately configuring windfarms to maximise availability with a mix of rotor diameters and tower heights might save a lot of storage capacity. We have to structure the market incentives correctly. It is quite difficult to do that, viz the investments in gas and diesel under your previous capacity market, but we should try.

        If Solar Reserve succeed in SA surely that will be part of the mix as will tracking solar to extend morning and afternoon solar generation, combined with all the other opportunities you mentioned.

        The whole issue of land use is a huge opportunity in WA. replanting the mallee to improve soil water absorption and improve shading to lower land surface temperatures can have a huge effect on SW WA climate and if you get it right, improve agricultural productivity and improve wind flows while slightly lowering summer temperatures. Reversing 150 years of landscape abuse is no easy task though

        • Alastair Leith

          Agree, there’s a great set of solutions involving agro-forestry and farmer managed regrowth timber in the Drawdown book/project initiated by Paul Hawkins and led by 80 different experts. Yes, returning to previous rainfall and temperature patterns in the south west would be a good thing for farmers and all living beings alike. Locals who’ve been there a long time say the tree clearing very much reduced the rainfall in that part of the world (and we know science says more trees more rain, with rainforests like the Amazon recycling every drop of water ten times or something as it moves through the forest form one end to another).

          As long as they stay out of Native Forests. Unfortunately there’s a big push in Australia and globally to open up to this industry because of the fraudulent “carbon neutral” accreditation of imported biomass in Europe and elsewhere.

          Solar Reserve will succeed with Aurora, I just hope they get 10 more commissioned in SA and WA for starters to get the LCOE down.

          • CB

            “the fraudulent “carbon neutral” accreditation of imported biomass in Europe”

            I don’t know if it’s “fraudulent”, but I would agree that a water-limited place like Australia should be careful of damaging old-growth forests. Places where plants can grow is a tiny fraction of the total area.

          • Alastair Leith

            Contrary to popular opinion overseas, Australia is not mostly sandy desert with no plants. And yes, it’s completely fraudulent if accurate carbon accounting is of concern to you.

          • CB

            I do speak German! …but that’s not German, it’s Dutch.

            We have these things called satellites now, and I can assure you most of Australia has very little biomass to speak of. We can see that from space.

            The red heart isn’t just a metaphor!

          • Alastair Leith

            Ah ok, I wondered why he kept referring to Netherlands!

          • CB

            That clip appears to be a bit of misinformation! I don’t know if it comes from Euro coal somewhere, or what, but the host misled the audience on several occasions.

          • Alastair Leith


          • CB


            Doesn’t mention the wood chips are scrap wood that cannot be used as lumber, doesn’t mention the diesel is accounted for in the carbon accounting, confuses viewers by claiming there is more CO₂ produced than by burning fossil fuels, though he does mention the trees that are being burned do absorb CO₂ when they regrow… a bit of a contradiction.

            It’s common PR. I’ve seen it before.

          • Alastair Leith

            Ok CB there’s a lot you don’t understand about the biomass industry and carbon accounting around it. Too much for me to summarise this morning. I’ll post some material when I get a chance. Trust me, burning forests to heat boilers can produce more GHGs than burning coal and certainly can produce more airborne particulates and nasties that have serious population health air quality issues. In fact there seems to be a big push on in NSW at the moment to open up native forests for burning in new biomass burning plants the soars of coal plants and shipping chips to Europe and to Asia (increasing looking to eliminate coal and make commuttemrnts to the international effort to reduce emissions).

            The assumptions that trees grow back and suck out CO2 is true, your next assumption, and it’s a common one, that this makes it carbon neutral is entirely false. Trees in Victorias temperate rain forests of east Gippsland sequester more CO2 than any other land use in Australia. If we log them, the CO2 they sequester Ian gone, the water holding capacity reduces, the rain they produces stops, the reservoirs near them get less water.
            So you allow them to regrow:
            a) even if you waited 200 years, the sequestration rate would not Ben as good as old growth forest after 200 years and at 10-20 years it’s a fraction of the old grown forest.

            b) in 10-20 years planet Earth may have crossed a dangerous climatic tipping point with the loss of polar sea ice (we had warmer than zero degrees winds blowing in the Arctic Circle all last week, mid winter and entire ice sheets are breaking off Antartica with exponential land ice melt). Somhe emissions may as well be from fossil fuels in terms of the offset of regrowth.

            b) Only trees planted on historically cleared agricultural land can hope to have any kind of (almost) neutrality from burning. And you can pay CarbonNeutral tondo that for you in the WA wheat belt with Gold Standard ratings but it will Costner you a lot more than coal, wind and solar to produce power. Will get back to you on prices. Way more expensive than have govt subsidies you and pay for you roads when you rip into native forests.

            d) once clear felled these forests will be harvested every 30-50 years as is the current practice soneill mever regain their sequestration value.

            e) when you clear felll a forest 95% of the native inhabitants are killed or drive out to other habitats that is already occupied and so they either die fighting to take that habitat niche or kill another of there own or increase the pressure on their food source.

            And there’s more but that’s all I have time for today.

          • CB

            “Trust me, burning forests to heat boilers can produce more GHGs than burning coal”


            No. No, I do not trust you. I also know you’re incorrect, because I know how the carbon cycle works.

            The mature forests you claim represent a net reduction of CO₂ have been there for millions of years.

            If they had been sequestering carbon the whole time, why didn’t atmospheric carbon drop to zero?

            “The paper postulates a sizeable, previously unknown methane source of 60-240 Mt from forests and other biomes, and an additional source of 1-7 Mt CH₄ from litter.”


          • Alastair Leith

            Why didn’t atmospheric carbon drop to zero?! And you claim to understand carbon cycles! Your rhetorical question directly contradicts your claim that biomass biomass is carbon neutral. Will repaond with scientific papers when I have time. In short if a forest is clear felled and burnt to make power there’s very little regrowth over the next 20 years and you’ve lost the carbon sequestration of old growth. Furthermore you lose most of the plant and animal species and it comes back as monoculture the way forestry I done in Australia. If you burnt coal for the same amount of electrical power you still have the sequestration at a way higher rate of old growth vs regrowth forest. Plus the particulates are worse for biomass incineration and it’s green so you need to use energy drying it out. Plus the fuel to truck the biomass. Plus the water retention, non erosion, better rainfalls for the district from old growth forest vs regrowth. Only plantation timber on previously cleared land ie already farming land can hope to approach carbon neutral and even then it’s not actually carbon neutral but much closer than burning old growth forests.

          • CB

            “Why didn’t atmospheric carbon drop to zero?!”

            Yes! Why? In the scenario you advanced, there was no harvesting. You claimed an old-growth forest would continue to sequester carbon the longer it stood.

            If that’s true, why didn’t those old-growth forests exhaust the carbon in the air millions of years ago?

            Answer the question, please.

            “Clearing Forests Of Dead Wood Prevents Massive CO₂ Emissions”


          • Alastair Leith

            I’m getting the impression you’re being deliberately daft.


            See that drawdown (third arrow from the left), that’s forests, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands biomass doing their thing and using CO₂. See the arrow to the left of it, that’s also woodlands, grasslands and wetlands, biomass and the critters in them doing their thing, emitting CO₂.

            Here’s the kicker, some forms of vegetation amsorb more CO₂ per hectare than others forms. Some vegetation communities support heavier emitters of CO₂ and methane than others.

            The Earth was on a gentle average temperature decline prior to the industrial revolution, when considerable amounts of CO₂ and methane started being emitted and large tracts of forest begun to be removed which increased the impact of ever present greenhouse effect.

          • CB

            “See the arrow to the left of it? That’s also woodlands, grasslands and wetlands, biomass and the critters in them doing their thing, emitting CO₂”

            Right! The emissions of a mature forest match almost precisely the sequestration.

            That is why atmospheric CO₂ did not crash to zero over the last few million years.

            Contrary to your claim, mature forests are not carbon negative, they are carbon neutral.

            …the only reason there’s a difference at all is because of us. Higher concentrations of CO₂ lead to faster uptake:

            “This increased terrestrial uptake of CO₂ has many causes, including stimulation of photosynthesis by elevated [CO₂]”


          • Alastair Leith

            Wrong. That is the sum total of land sector emissions. Not a breakdown of various vegetation communities. Methane is 105x as potent as CO2. Ruminant livestock and wetlands emit methane. You seem to completely lack the ability to have a nuanced discussion beyond headlines. Go back to FoxNews please.

          • CB

            “Wrong. that is the sum total of emissions.”


            The sum total of the emissions is effectively zero, buddy.

            Again, I’d challenge you to explain Earth’s history before we began burning fossil fuels if you “doubt” this is true.

            “Climate Milestone: Earth’s CO₂ Level Passes 400 ppm. Greenhouse gas highest since the Pliocene, when sea levels were higher and the Earth was warmer.”


          • Alastair Leith

            Ok I’ll try one more time and then I’m ignoring you maybe block.

            Old growth sequester more carbon than the emit CO2-e got it? Other land vegetation communities, like some wetlands produce vastly more GHGs than they sequester CO2. Mangroves sequester even more CO2 than old growth forests by a big margin. I guess they are classified as land but maybe as ocean carbon banks. (unfortunately rising sea levels are killing mangroves way faster than they can move inland). So while there is an over balance (was until industrial revolution) with a moderate increase of CO2 (interglacial time scale of moderate) some vegetation communities sequester much more than others. If we increase the emitters and decrease the sequestering vegetation communities then guess what happens? It’s just like burning fossil fuels, net imbalance and more GHGs in the atmosphere.

            Historically oceans have been absorbing a lot of that CO2 flow, but they are approaching their limit. And methane has risen 3 times as fast as CO2, but the vast majority of methane is not absorbed by biological processes. You might think that’s irrelevant but methane has caused 39% of the current global warming to date!

          • CB

            “Old growth sequester more carbon than the emit CO2-e got it?”

            No. I don’t “got it”. It’s false, and you already know it’s false because you already know atmospheric CO₂ stayed relatively level for millions of years before we came on the scene.

            Here’s why your failure to distinguish between the slow and fast carbon cycles in a problem:

            Short-circuiting the short carbon cycle is likely to be one of the only ways of fixing the mess we’ve made by interrupting the long carbon cycle.

            …and full disclosure, these concepts confused me too at first!

            You need to get your understanding nailed down, if you want to help fix the problem. You aren’t helping anyone by spouting misinformation.

            “Given the immense quantities of carbon cycled by Earth’s biosphere (210 gigatons annually), even relatively small shifts in the rates of carbon cycle processes and amounts of carbon biosequestered in ecosystems could have major impacts on atmospheric CO₂ levels.”


          • Alastair Leith

            Bye bye. Your false logic thought exercises might impress your buddy’s but not me. If you DL the Land Use Report ( all the evidence and papers are linked to in that, i think it’s the 5th chapter, towards the end anyhow.

          • CB

            “Bye bye.”


            Your dismissal of the person telling you a fact does not change that fact. This is how children behave.

            …and Climate Deniers.

            If you truly believed the things you claim to believe, you’d fix that.

            (and, BTW, your post appears to indicate you understand what needs to be done, and it’s a far more radical alteration of the natural world than what I’d propose!)

            “Creating biochar actually reduces CO₂ in the atmosphere because the process takes a theoretically carbon-neutral process of naturally decaying organic matter and turns it carbon-negative”


          • Alastair Leith

            Biochar is no silver bullet, logging old growth for biochar makes no sense if GHG emissions concern you. On farm plantation coppiced mallee gums then used in biochar makes more sense. Mallee gum plantations on marginal or even good cropping land have dry land salinity, winter waterlogging and (limited) habitat corridor co-benefits. The LUR discusses biochar, its benefits, limitations and best application scenarios also in section 6.4 Biochar from tree crops. Only a few pages but plenty of references.

          • CB

            “Biochar is no silver bullet”

            I think that’s true! It’s certainly not a way to continue the suicidal status quo. It would have a much smaller impact on the natural world than the draining of swamps you were talking about… if you did it with agricultural land, you wouldn’t have to touch old growth forests at all… not that I would rule out harvesting of dead wood from those forests. My point is that we cannot rely on nature to fix the mess we’ve made. We have to fix it ourselves, and we have to see it. Pure carbon is black! You can see it in the ground here. It’s making coal instead of burning it:


          • Alastair Leith

            Seeing as you are too lazy to check the reference I gave you:

            3.3.2 Carbon exchanges between the ecosystems and atmosphere

            “According to the NIR, forest lands have been accumulating
            carbon stock at an average rate of approximately 12 Mt of
            carbon per year. However, the flow of carbon between native
            vegetation and the atmosphere has been variable, with some
            years showing net emissions, while the remainder show
            net sequestration (Fig. 3.12). The key drivers of emissions
            variability in forest lands are annual logging rates, the age
            classes of the forests, climate variability and wildfires.
            The categories considered carbon sinks are inclusive of
            ‘multiple use forests’, ‘native forests formally managed
            for wood production’, ‘pre-1990 plantations’, ‘other
            native forests’ and grassland converted to forest land
            (i.e. plantations and environmental plantings). Fires are considered to be the major source of emissions. These
            estimates are generated through the FullCAM modeling
            software, which uses age-based growth data, modeling of
            dead organic matter accumulation and incorporates the
            effects of differing silvicultural treatments on the creation
            and management of harvest residues. Empirical data inputs
            constrain FullCAM to an accurate reflection of field data.21”


            There’s a dozen or more tables of data in relation to forest carbon in chapter 3 of the LUR. If you’re genuinely interested then read it, I can’t summarize so much information. But everything you are saying is misleading and/or overly generalising. There’s so much nuance in the science you are grossly ignoring, seemingly from willful ignorance. You’ll see that most years Australian forests sequester but some years overall the have equally large emissions: b/c forest fires.

            You are advocating for forest disturbance to remove leaf litter and/or fallen logs (which in old growth forest is not so vast as you are suggesting) — and worse still — clear felling for biomass combustion. That will make them very vulnerable to the ever increasing risk of forest fire in Australia. Stupid idea, and contrary to everything we know about forest carbon cycles in Australia.

            Now consider the sequestration regime of undisturbed versus disturbed forest:


            See the difference!

            extract from 3.3.4 Comparing biomass across forest types and land use histories

            “The results of this analysis suggest that the true mean
            value of both eucalyptus open forests and eucalyptus tall
            open forests is significantly higher than the modelled value
            (Fig 3.14).
            The modelled estimates were found to be statistically similar
            to observed values in the rainforests and vine thickets,
            eucalyptus woodlands, eucalyptus open woodlands and
            acacia shrublands MVGs. However, differences of statistical
            significance were noted for all sites in eucalyptus tall open
            forest and eucalyptus open forest MVGs. In both of these
            groups, the modelled estimate grossly underestimates the
            actual above ground biomass observed from these sites.
            According to the observations, the eucalyptus tall open
            forest features the highest yield in above ground biomass,
            with a mean of 918 t/ha. This compares with the modelled
            mean of 160 t/ha for the same sites.”


          • Alastair Leith

            Victoria’s logged landscapes are at increased risk of bushfire
            By Dr. Chris Taylor, Prof. David Lindenmayer & Prof.
            Michael McCarthy

          • Alastair Leith

            Area of Tasmania (wettest state in Australia and mostly rural/wilderness) : 68,401 km²
            Area of Netherlands: 41,543 km²
            Area of Germany: 357,376 km²

            We have a lot of biomass.

          • CB

            “We have a lot of biomass.”

            You really don’t!

            …not for a land mass of that size.

            Taz is pretty densely-forested, but the rest of the green on the map is a thin line, desperately hugging the coast.

            The entire center is nothing but baked rock… absolutely fabulous for generating solar power, but not so good for biomass…

  • Thucydides

    Spot on. But while emissions from electricity generation are the largest component they are not the whole picture. Despite the best efforts of the Coalition to protect the fossil fuel industries, emissions from electricity generation in 2018 are pretty much the same as they were in 2004, even though demand has increased: See
    Energy transition is happening without support from Coalition governments anyway -because of new technology, because it makes economic sense and because it is the lowest of the low hanging fruit.

    Transport and agriculture are the next big sectors and they’ll be harder, so no time to waste. If we elect (and re-elect) governments that take climate action seriously we will also be giving this country the best chance of a decent economic future.

  • Tim Kelly

    The article does not identify that the physical outcomes of new renewable energy generation (since 2000 in a state mostly drive by the National RET) as different from policies additional to the RET and contractual commitments such as the ACT. The ACT contractual purchasing is adding to out comes in places like South Australia for the Hornsdale wind farm.

  • joono

    Yeah but Victoria still burns brown coal and relentlessly logs old growth forest.
    Your removed level crossings mean nothing on a dead planet.

    • wideEyedPupil

      well, at least morning traffic flows better, i guess the autonomous cars will still find things to do.

    • Peter F

      But we have made a start. We have closed our 3 worst brown coal stations we have much more wind than NSW or Queensland and have about 1,600 MW of wind with PPAs being planned or built at the moment and some 100’s of MW of solar. In total another 8 TWh of renewables by 2020

  • CB

    What a curious map!

    Northern and Western Australia are absolutely lousy with sun, but their renewable energy fraction is tiny.

    They could be powering the entire country! Solar energy is kindof a no-brainer at this point…

    “Solar Power Is Now The World’s Cheapest Energy”

    • neroden

      Yeah, the NT and WA need to get building with their solar. Thankfully they’re pretty low-population so it should go fast when they get started (and they are finally getting started).

      Victoria is sluggish but catching up. NSW seems to be positively obstructionist, even though it’s starting from a better place than Vic, NT, or WA.