Our climate future and how we adapt to it can feel fraught with complexity. As a company, Koskela is taking a stand for the planet leading up to the Federal Election. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on some key areas in which our leaders should act, and act quickly.
The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, has urged in its most recent report that unprecedented changes are needed to reach the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C. Part of Australia’s commitment to achieving these targets needs to be an increased, rapid and a complete commitment to the decarbonisation of our energy sources.
No to coal
Despite common knowledge that coal is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions from human activity, Australia has been unhealthily tied to it. Coal now holds the second largest share of Australia’s primary energy mix at 32%, not far behind oil (38%), while renewables sit at a measly 6%.
Economic and population growth continue to be the biggest drivers of increasing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Initiatives to move away from coal fired energy and negate its negative impacts are referred to as the decarbonisation of our energy sources.
To fight against global warming, decarbonisation is at the core. Its approach in Australia is built on four pillars:
Ambitious and improved energy efficiency
Zero emissions electricity supply
Making the switch - using clean electricity instead of fossil fuels
Reducing non-energy emissions in industry and agriculture
In the baseline scenarios modelled by the IPCC, direct CO2 emissions from the energy supply sector are projected to almost double or even triple by 2050 on 2010 numbers unless moves to completely change our energy use and energy markets are exponentially accelerated.
No more status quo
The IPCC has been calling for decarbonisation as one of the key mitigation strategies in the fight against climate warming(1). In 2014 their recommendations already stated that any delays to mitigation efforts from then until 2030 would “substantially increase the difficulty of transition to low longer term emissions levels.” On top of that, any delays also would narrow the options for maintaining temperature changes below 2°C. That was 2014, and it’s now 2019, and we are still seeing the Australian government’s love affair with coal front and centre.
How can Australia implement change?
The IPCC’s recommendations are made in the context of global and sustainable development and are directed at our policy makers and leaders to ensure informed and future focused decision making. Our leaders are being given the tools to make sure our futures are safe but they’re not taking action. So, what are some of the initiatives we want to see them doing? Let’s set the agenda.
Shifting to, and incentivising the use of renewables, CCS (carbon capture storage) and nuclear energy and supporting technologies that piggyback on this such as electric vehicles.
Encouraging fuel switching by our energy providers through policy and structural changes: electrification and fuel switching from fossil fuels to bioenergy and from coal and oil to gas will reduce emissions from transport, industry and buildings.
Making clear and publicised commitments to reducing emissions to ensure that investment decisions by industry and business are inline with the future focused targets and are able to shift and adapt.
Invest in R&D to fill the technology and knowledge gaps and reducing the cost of low carbon technologies
Shifting one of our primary industries from livestock grazing to carbon forestry offsets: Australia has great potential to offset emissions via forestry bio-sequestration. Under price incentives for afforestation, large shifts in land use from agricultural land (in particular livestock grazing) to carbon forestry are identified as profitable, but the government needs to support to sector to be able to transition.
Use innovation and design to make an impact; interestingly the recommendations made as part of Climate Works and ANU’s “Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation” relied on existing and tested technologies. As the world rapidly changes and technology moves ahead in leaps and bounds, our leaders need to harness the power of innovation for exponential and unprecedented change. This could include initiatives in innovative buildings, waste to energy creation and disruption to how goods are extracted, made and supplied. Using what we’ve always used isn’t going to be enough.
Get behind Koskela’s #istandfortheplanet campaign!
As we know, our current political system is now poll driven and responsive rather than proactive. So, we have a really simple way you can help: jump on social media and take a stand for the planet!
Instructions for directing your social media post to Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten.
Instructions for directing your social media post to your local electorate candidates.