Australian states and territories are leading the way when it comes to climate policy, with the Northern Territory becoming the latest to outline a target for zero emissions.
While countries around the world have been setting climate policies and targets to achieve by 2050, there has been a vacuum of national policy in Australia with the Morrison Government refusing to offer anything beyond 2030.
That has led to the individual states and territories taking the lead and setting their own ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and set climate policy.
The Northern Territory is the latest to come to the table with a bold plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
NT puts focus on solar target
The NT Government has released a draft climate change response which outlines a plan to use the “natural advantages” of the territory to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace solar options instead.
The Northern Territory is rich with land that could house solar panels while the arid nature of much of the territory means there is plenty of sunlight to harvest.
The plan includes the rollout of a 10GW renewable energy network by 2030 which is expected to create 8000 jobs and bring in around $2 billion in revenue to the territory’s economy.
It is hoped that the plan will include a mining boom for materials required for renewables and batteries which would create an export industry for the Northern Territory.
The announcement comes following an announcement from the ACT in 2017 that the territory will move towards zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
This was followed up with a climate strategy announcement that outlines a move away from natural gas, electrify public transport and provide incentives for locals to purchase electric vehicles.
Australia’s keen eyes for renewable energy
South Australia has been leading the way with its Climate Change Vision and has already decommissioned its last coal-fired power stations, installed a giant Tesla battery and has advanced solar and wind power options.
The Queensland Climate Transition Strategy also aims to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 and the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework is also committed to achieving zero emissions by 2050.
The Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 also outlines plans to be emission-free by 2050 along with Tasmania under its Climate Change Action Plan.
Western Australia stands as the only state or territory to not commit to having zero emissions by 2050, instead adhering to the Federal Government’s 2030 goals. But WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston said while it is not legislated, the state would maintain an “aspirational” goal of being emissions-free by 2050.
While the states and territories are moving towards 2050 climate action goals, there has been no movement from the Federal Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not attend the UN Climate Summit in New York in September.
Protestors, including those from Extinction Rebellion, continue to target Australian cities in a bid to get more national action.