On 6 May 2016, the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment released a report with modelling and analysis of national abatement opportunities. Energetics prepared the report and considered over 70 abatement opportunities that could be implemented by policies existing or under consideration by the Government.
The findings: there is potentially significant low-cost abatement available to meet the 2030 target
To reach the 2030 target of 28% reductions in emissions on 2005 levels, the major areas of opportunity are:
- energy productivity (44%): including energy efficiency measures to improve thermal efficiency of coal power, commercial building designs and retrofits, precinct developments, improvements in energy data management, supply chain optimisation, fuel management systems and vehicle productivity, autonomous mining, improvements in manufacturing including equipment upgrades and processes
- land management (38%): reducing deforestation, reforestation of marginal land and restoration of degraded farmland
- renewable energy – in addition to the RET (5%): residential, commercial and remote area solar PV
- improved management of industrial processes (5%): management of synthetic gases, changes in cement production with clinker substitution.
The remaining opportunities fall into:
- fuel switching: batteries, more cogen and trigen, coal to gas (ERF), electric vehicles, biofuels in aviation
- agriculture: pasture and grassland management, crop land carbon sequestration
- fugitive emissions management: goals such as zero routine flaring by 2030 for LNG/natural gas/oil sectors, enhanced degasification, being the recovery of coal mine waste gas
- waste management: waste to energy projects (landfill and livestock).
These measures could potentially be pursued within the framework of existing climate change policies.
The Energetics reported that although much can be achieved now, it will be essential to fully engage large emitters as well as implementing programs such as the National Energy Productivity Plan without delay.
Can Australia achieve more abatement and make deeper cuts?
In order to meet our national commitment of containing warming to within 2 degrees, and work towards limiting warming to 1.5 degrees we will need to do more. Our 2030 target is not consistent with these goals.
Under the new global climate agreement, Australia has committed to reviewing targets and performance every five years.
You can read the Government’s copy of the report here.
For commentary on the National Energy Productivity Plan (by Alan Pears), visit The Conversation.