I’m in California this week where the tangible positive impacts of the low-carbon revolution are occurring across the entire economic spectrum.
The enigmatic Governor Jerry Brown has set the leadership direction but it’s the State’s targets – 40% emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2030 and 50% renewables by 2030 – that provide the stable policy signals that are driving the regulatory programs and stimulating investment and market activity.
A primary reason for the decoupling of economic growth from emissions growth is that, to achieve the ambitious emissions reduction targets, there are robust, stable policies enacted to achieve those targets.
Clearly having policies that translate to genuine emissions reductions is what is needed in Australia. Our emissions are rising, and the National Policy Review last year did not go anywhere near answering how Australia’s policies are going to evolve to meet our target.
California’s model for setting targets and enacting policies to achieve the targets, is a model that the Australian governments – federal and state – should look to emulate. The comprehensive suite of policies includes a cap and trade market mechanism linked to a domestic offset market that has been extended to 2030 and covers 85% of the state’s emissions. In addition, the 50% renewables by 2030 target is driving the quantum of investment so that target is likely to be met by 2020!
The point of all is this that, even in Trump’s America, the low-carbon transition is unstoppable. In conversations with informed people here, some have laughed openly at the stupidity of Australian anti-climate change political voices who want to put the Coal back into the Coalition.
Navigating the climate and energy space for Australian business and governments is not easy. However, we have many competitive advantages that can be harnessed to create new economic opportunities to reduce emissions. We have the capability and capacity in technology, finance, carbon markets and indeed in policy development.
It’s time we rebuild Australia’s brand in this space again and join the global revolution.
Hopefully we’ll see you at the 5th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in a few weeks’ time.
CEO, Carbon Market Institute