The report canvasses the need for a switch to electric transport, although the government and its advisors still appear to be convinced that fuel cell technologies will be needed for anything other than cars and light commercial vehicles, which appears to ignore recent developments. It also canvasses upgrade to engine efficiency for fossil fuel vehicles.

Quite rightly, much of the roadmap is focused on those “hard to get to sectors” within buildings, transport, manufacturing and industrial processes, and it signals a shift in the mandates of key bodies such as the CEFC and ARENA (whose future is not entirely clear).

Environmental groups pushed back against the focus on gas, CCS and other technologies less travelled than wind, solar and storage.

John Connor, from the Carbon Markets Institute, however had a more nuanced approach. He described the roadmap as, potentially, the start of one of the “most crucial national conversations in over a decade. It will be a test of our national character, comparative advantage and coordination,” he notes.

That is based on the assumption, or the hope, that the government is listening. Until it can commit to the basic target of zero emissions by 2050, there is little chance of that. Which is a pity, because as Connor notes:

“Australia’s prosperity and security depends on our ability to transition our economy, and help coordinate the global economy, to net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Australia can lead the world in deployment of technologies like hydrogen, soil carbon and renewable energy but we will need to first past another test of national character and coordination to move beyond past squabbles to realise our comparative advantage and opportunities.”

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