The ACT has surpassed its 2020 emissions reduction target, announcing that it had achieved emissions reductions of 45 per cent, putting the national capital on track to meeting a goal of zero net emissions by 2045.
The ACT government said it had set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels, and had overachieved, reducing emissions by 45 per cent.
The bulk of the reductions were achieved through the territory’s switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity, a switch that it successfully completed last year after securing supplies of zero emissions power from a number of newly build wind and solar projects.
Electricity emissions had previously been the largest source of the territory’s emissions, representing 40 per cent of the ACT’s carbon footprint, but had now effectively been nullified through the purchase of renewable energy supplies.
ACT chief minister Andrew Barr, who also serves as the ACT’s minister for climate action, said the milestone was an indication of the ACT’s successes at tackling climate change, and that the territory would continue to look for ways to cut emissions in other parts of the economy.
“Over the past decade, the ACT has demonstrated national leadership in preparing our community for climate change. We were the first Australian jurisdiction to shift to 100% renewable electricity, which was the most significant factor in meeting the 40% reduction target,” Barr said.
“The ACT Government has an ambitious agenda to continue taking action on climate change by reducing emissions from the ACT’s public transport and waste sectors as we work towards our zero net emissions target.”
ACT minister for energy and emissions reduction, Shane Rattenbury, added that the ACT government would now be focusing its efforts on reducing emissions in the transport sector and reducing the use of gas.
Transport emissions now represented the largest source of emissions in the ACT, representing 57 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by gas use which accounted for 21 per cent of emissions.
“While we should all be proud of these achievements, we are still faced with confronting reminders that climate change is here and its impacts are growing. Having declared a climate emergency we need to get on with the job of cutting emissions and making our community, buildings and infrastructure more resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change,” Rattenbury said.
“Emissions from transport and fossil fuel gas are the next big challenge for the ACT. The Parliamentary and Governing Agreement between the Greens and Labor parties makes significant commitments in these areas, to phase out use of gas in the ACT, accelerate the uptake of zero-emissions vehicles and build a big battery in Canberra.”
The recently re-elected Labor-Greens government in the ACT is set to introduce measures to limit the roll out of gas infrastructure to new homes and encouraging the use of all-electric appliances. The ACT government will also support the uptake of electric vehicles, investing in the roll out of additional public charging infrastructure and incorporating up to 90 all-electric buses into the public transport fleet over the next four years.
The ACT government is also set to support the roll out of battery storage, securing agreements to see up to 250MW of new large-scale battery storage within the ACT, as well as providing zero interest loans to assist households to purchase rooftop solar, battery storage or electric vehicles.