Can Australia hit carbon net-neutral by 2050?

I put it to you that this is the major reason that Scotty from Marketing is level pegging with a hapless and treasonous Labor today. Via The Australian:

Scott Morrison says his goal is to reach net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, preferably by 2050, but has declared his government will not “tax our way” to the climate target.

Outlining an aim that could inflame divisions within the Coalition, the Prime Minister told the National Press Club on Monday that he would like Australia to be carbon neutral by 2050.

At the heart of the government’s attempt will be new technology and a low hydrogen price, with Mr Morrison warning he will not commit to the 2050 target unless he can outline its impact on the economy and jobs.

ScoMo already has a carbon price. His gas-led recovery is a private fossil fuel tax, driving up costs for high-emissions power:

Australian energy costs compared

In five years renewables will be much cheaper:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

If it goes the way we think it will, renewables plus full storage will be more than 60% cheaper than coal and gas:

Price of solar and batteries over next 5 years

So, energy transition is going to dramatically accelerate anyway. Will it be enough to hit net neutral 2050? On present policies we’ll still be producing 20% of our energy via coal:

Which pretty much stuffs it. Here’s the rough guide to what’s needed from Climate Action Tracker:

Key findings

  • Accelerating the transition towards a renewables-based electricity supply by the 2030’s will bring large additional employment opportunities to Australia which, if combined with policies to incentivise more local manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels and batteries, would reach 76,000 by 2030.
    • Renewable energy in electricity supply can reach 97% by 2030, 99% by 2035 and 100% by 2040.
  • Gas is not needed as a transition fuel, contrary to government claims
    • The share of gas for power generation would decrease from today’s level of 20% to around 3% by 2030, 1% by 2035 and gone by 2040.
    • Gas needs to be phased out globally by the 2040’s, with the LNG industry reducing emissions well before then.
  • There is no need for any increase in gas for power generation due to the increasing cost-efficacy of battery storage, pumped hydro, demand-side management and the integration of hydrogen and EV storage systems into the grid.
  • Coal-fired power can be phased out by 2030 in a planned and regulated process to enable a just transition – using renewables and advanced storage – without gas.
  • Electrification of transport and industry requires an increase in electricity generation by 2030 of 32% above 2019 levels, and a further 23% increase by 2040 above 2030 levels.
    • This enables electrification of end-use sectors, including EV’s in transport and green hydrogen for domestic use.
  • Accelerated climate action can halve Australia’s GHG emissions from fossil fuels, transport, industry and agriculture and other sectors (not including land use, land-use change and forestry sectors – LULUCF) by 2030, and reduce these to 90% below 2005 levels by 2050.
  • To fully reach a Paris Agreement compatible pathway strong action to halt deforestation by 2030 and maintaining forests for carbon storage through to 2050 will be needed.
    • By 2030 total GHG reductions of 66% by 2030 can be achieved.
    • Net-zero GHG emissions can be achieved by 2050
  • Land sector carbon storage is needed to outweigh remaining GHG emissions from hard-to-abate sectors, especially agriculture, and requires a balanced approach that protects biodiversity, water resources and avoids relying on carbon storage in the land sector beyond sustainable limits.
  • The Australian car and bus fleet can be close to 40% (38%) electric on the road by 2030 and, combined with the decarbonisation of the power sector, can be fully decarbonised by the middle of the century.
  • There is huge potential in decarbonising the buildings sector, so far untouched by any climate policies, promoting energy efficiency, and bringing other benefits, such as health.
  • Reductions of non-energy emissions in the agricultural sector, particularly of methane and nitrous oxide, are expected to be much slower than in all other sectors and will rely on enhanced agricultural management (e.g. manure management, improved livestock feeding practices, and more efficient fertiliser use) and other measures to achieve a 35% reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions by 2050.

ScoMo’s private gas tax comes at the price of very high fugitive emissions in LNG so it’s self-defeating.

I am very doubtful we can make it to net-zero without some form of carbon price to drive the myriad changes needed in energy and beyond.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. I’m thinking (and hoping) we’ve hit peak denial. From here there’ll be a cascade of reforms towards hitting the 2050 target. Not necessarily from this government, but the future ones. The electorate will demand it.

  2. For lovers of irony, Scott Morrison suddenly slipping behind the wheel of United Nations Net Zero is a hard one to top.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      SFM might have got behind the wheel, but he says he doesn’t know how to get to Zero emissions by 2050.
      Not surprising since he has had his head up his ass on this issue for the past 10years

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      He actually has no say in it because the States have already done it. What would help would be a national policies to help drive some of the transition.

      I am pretty optimistic (based on price reductions of solar, batteries and to some extent wind) that by 2030 we will be way more advanced than the 2040 estimate in the first diag as batteries and solar will halve in price twice by then. And by 2030 I am pretty sure that EV’s will be close to 90% of all new vehicles sold for the same reason. The sticker price for EV’s will be less than ICE’s around 2025/26 and 80% of the price of an ICE by 2030 – with much lower running costs.

  3. False. But who cares?

    Her husband bought $US500K to $US1mil call options on Dec 22 at $500 with an expiration of March 18, 2022. Still worthy of ethical questions.

    And how do we know? Open financial disclosure by her.

    Zero Hedge and Facebook memes may not be the best source of information.

  4. Charles MartinMEMBER

    yeah, just like all of those Redditors playing with the protected species that is Wall St.
    The MSM is calling them a rabble and the bad guys in this whole GameStop thing and says that the hedge funds are the poor victims and the good guys.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      No, no – I was wrong Chinajim has the tweezers out and has clarified the whole thing as a non-issue that wasn’t even worth mentioning.

      It wasn’t a million dollars in stock but a million dollars in options – probably giving him the right to buy a HUNDRED MILLION Telsa shares…. but yeah, Orange man bad!

  5. IrrregularMEMBER

    Does anyone have a link to the section of climate action tracker that those graphs come from? I’ve been searching but can’t find it….

      Quadrant has a view as to the climate action founder.
      Reneweconomy describes itself as
      “It will help maintain and expand Australia’s leading renewable energy web-site, which is so critical given the current policy and media environment.

      We keep going because we are passionate about what we do, and because we think what we do is important. We influence mainstream media, and in turn policy-makers. We are read widely by the industry – both fossilised and renewable – and by all the leading political, regulatory and business institutions.”
      These charts do not appear to be from unbiased sources.

      It is difficult to judge given I cannot see the context from whence they have been drawn.

      I cannot find the original publications either

  6. Forrest GumpMEMBER

    Carbon Neutral by 2050 will be too late.
    Thee premise of going neutral was on the assumption that emissions would decline, starting from the announcement made around 10+ years ago. So 10+ years ago, if we started to reduce CO2 levels with a goal of being neutral by 205, we can limit the earths temp rise to 1.5 degrees C.

    We have increased the CO2 emissions since that start date..

    Shut the gate, the horse bolted long ago…