Australia’s economic and environmental future out to 2050 has been researched by a team of 40 from the CSIRO. They found that reducing emissions is a ‘win-win’ for the environment and economy.
Their research suggests that energy and transport can remain affordable, with energy efficiency offsetting higher prices for electricity and fuel (including in low carbon scenarios), and better management of peak demand and improved electricity network operations. By 2050, electric vehicles and biofuels could reverse our mounting transport fuel imports, as well as reducing costs, improving air quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Business, individuals, and government all need to be involved in lifting productivity and enhancing our shared social, economic and natural capital. Efficient and responsive institutional settings can turn challenges into opportunities, and have a vital role in managing trade-offs and promoting longer term sustainability and prosperity.
The reports says we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions significantly through energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy, and land-sector sequestration. In the case of concerted global action on climate change, this could see Australia reduce its per capita emissions to below the global average by 2050, down from five times the average in 1990, while maintaining strong economic growth. Actual costs and benefits would be highly dependent on the details of domestic policies, and how these interact with international actions.
Australia’s ecosystems are unique and globally significant. At payments for carbon farming around A$40-60 per tonne of CO2e by 2030, carbon credits could be harnessed to reward landowners for restoring ecosystems, increasing native habitat by 17% and decreasing extinction risks by 10%, without large additional government outlays.
Storing carbon through reforestation and other land use changes becomes a more profitable revenue earner than some existing farming, providing income that more than makes up for reduced fossil fuel exports or the costs of Australia meeting its own deeper greenhouse gas reductions.
I hope this will stimulate a re-think by Government on its current Direct Action framework. The ERF funds 'business-as-usual' carbon offset projects and ignores environmental, economic and community co-benefits.
To read the report in full please go to http://www.csiro.au/nationaloutlook/