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Australia’s climate change commitment is net-zero emissions by 2050. The latest projections indicate the target of 26-to-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 will be bettered. However, continuing at that rate of reduction will leave a very big offsetting challenge in 2050. Practical actions taken by governments now can close the gap.

Australia’s governments can and should act now to create momentum towards the net-zero goal. This report, the fifth in a series on net zero, recommends policies for all the key sectors that contribute to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. These recommendations accept today’s political constraints and build on existing policies and priorities with low impact on industries or consumers.

All governments need to plan more directly for the physical and economic consequences of a changing climate, and to integrate climate change issues into all decisions on infrastructure planning, land use, and resource extraction. This policy challenge requires greater policy coordination across jurisdictions.

Key recommendations:

  • Start with sector-based policies today
  • Expand research and development funding
  • Integrate technology support with market-based policy
  • Work with industry to realise new opportunities
  • Re-launch and empower the Climate Change Authority
  • Push on with near-term reforms and plan for the future of the electricity system
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Grattan Institute Report No. 2021-15