It’s a race for votes as the major Australian parties outline their key policies and objectives as they campaign around the country.
Labor’s climate focus is around three main objectives for the Federal Election 2022:
- Creating jobs
- Reducing power bills
- Reducing emissions
In December last year, the Labor government announced a 2030 emissions reduction target, pledging to cut emissions by 43 per cent through their ‘Powering Australia’ strategy.
The strategy is a comprehensive plan on how the government will tackle different contributing factors to emissions.
Let’s take a look at Labor’s plan for climate change.
Powering Australia aims to:
- Invest $20 billion for the upgrade of Australia’s electricity grid in order to handle a more renewable power
- Co-invest $100 million in 85 solar banks across the country, providing cheaper electricity for more than 25,000 households
- Invest $200 million in the installation of 400 community batteries across the country to maximise rooftop solar transformations, support the grid and provide shared storage for up to 100,00 households.
- Reduce the Public Service’s emissions to net-zero by 2030, exempting the Australian Defence Force and other national security agencies.
The strategy states “Australian businesses know that a good climate policy is a good economic policy.”
The plan also says, “The Australian industry is demanding a robust policy framework to maximise future competitiveness, invest in the regions and ensure Australia has the future workforce we need to seize this jobs opportunity”
Under Powering Australia, Labor plans to boost industry by:
- Adopting the Business Council of Australia’s recommendation that “emission baselines be reduced predictably and gradually over time” to “support international competitiveness and economic growth.”
- Invest up to $3 billion from Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund to support renewables manufacturing and deploy low-emission technologies.
Agriculture and carbon farming
In agriculture, the strategy will focus on the development and commercialisation of emissions-reducing livestock feed, and improving carbon farming opportunities.
10,000 New Energy Apprentices will be trained in the “jobs of the future,” with another $10 million for the New Energy Skills Program to work with industry, unions, states and territories to ensure training pathways are “fit-for-purpose.”
The Labor government has also looked at the promising results of using seaweed to reduce methane emissions from cattle, but it’s not yet at commercial scale.
- Labor will provide the Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance (ASSA) with $8 million over two years to progress research.
Powering Australia plans to introduce an electric car discount to make electric vehicles cheaper.
- This is done by removing inefficient taxes from low-emissions vehicles.
Labor also plans to provide $14 million to establish a “real-world vehicle testing program to ensure Australians aren’t slugged with higher fuel costs than they were expecting.”
The Labor government says they will develop Australia’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy, including using existing Commonwealth commitments like road funding to encourage EV charging infrastructure.
Labor says Australian workers play a key role in delivering the commitments of the Powering Australia scheme.
604,000 new jobs are promised by 2030:
- 64,000 of those are direct jobs
- 540,000 are indirect
Labor sees job-creating climate action in the 2020’s as “imperative.”
The Treasury and the Industry Department found emissions reductions of 47 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 would see GDP growth by 2.9 per cent a year.
Is it enough?
It’s a modest but ambitious plan, with critics saying the plan falls short of what climate science demands.
According to the Guardian, Albanese argued the new target was roughly the same as Canada’s, another fossil fuel economy, and suggested the Labor party acted responsibly by first designing its policies and then paying for independent modelling to calculate what they would deliver.
The problem with electric vehicles
Australia is lagging behind in the global EV pecking order, according to consultancy Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Even as we adopt a shift to EV’s Australians would also need to wait more than a decade to reap the rewards of cost benefits from driving an EV.
An average $40,000 difference in purchase price between eclectic and petrol models means an EV purchase would need up to 16 years to provide savings for motorists.
All in all, these policies add up to a smaller cut in emissions by 2030 than Labor was promising under Bill Shorten less than three years ago, when its target was a 45% reduction.
But considering the attention to climate action the world has seen in the last two years, it’s not unreasonable to think a 43% per cent reduction target couldn’t be reached by 2030.
Learn more about Labor policies via alp.org.au.