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.
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.
“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.”