The latest report from Beyond Zero Emissions says we have the technology to cut our emissions as deeply as 80%, all we need to do is deploy. Dive into Beyond Zero Emissions’ vision is for a prosperous zero emissions Australia for more details beyond what we’re covering here.
The new federal Labour government has passed legislation (the Australian Climate Bill) mandating a 43% emissions cut. “‘Deploy’ is BZE’s first research publication since the passing of this federal legislation and in this report, we make the case for a more ambitious 81% reduction by 2030,” Geoff Summerhayes, Chair of Beyond Zero Emissions, says.
This report “sets aside the misconception that emissions cutting technologies are still in the development stage, or worse do not yet exist. With six technologies that are developed and in-market today, the report outlines how we can achieve outsized emissions reduction, create future-proof jobs, and lay the economic foundations for modern and competitive export industries. Deploy sets out how, wind turbines, solar, energy storage, heat pumps, electrolysers and EV’s, can transform electricity generation, buildings, vehicles, and industry, supported by carbon drawdown, to combine to deliver an 81% reduction over the next five years.
“The deployment plan will create jobs: we found a technology rollout at scale, plus carbon draw down for targeted activities, can put Australia on the path towards the IPCC scenario SSP1-1.9 (for 1.5 degrees of average global warming) and create 195,000 jobs that are not susceptible to the boom and bust of the fossil fuel markets.”
For this to work, BZE suggests that Australia will need to install 2 times the number of solar panels that were installed in 2021 per year for the next 5 years; 4 times the number of wind turbines; 5 times the number of batteries; 14 times the number of EVs; 37 times the number of heat pumps; and 3,000 electrolyzers. From my reading in the area, I can see the goals in solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electrolyzers being met. Not sure if we can achieve the goal of deploying 3.8 million electric vehicles over the next 5 years.
The report assures us: “Fleet sales, a third of Australia’s new car market, can do the heavy lifting here. This level of ambition is not unprecedented. Sweden increased its new car sales from 10% EVs in December 2019 to 60% by December 2021.” Even if we deploy EVs as fast as Norway, it will take 27 years to replace all ICE vehicles on the roads.
These EVs will include cars, trucks, light commercial vehicles, buses, and farming machinery. They will need to be supported by 1.12 million residential chargers and 236,000 public EV charging stations. These will need to be visible (to address range anxiety) and easy to access.
“Australia’s rollout of residential air-conditioning heat pumps is already faster than the pace needed in this plan. … Installations of heat pump water heaters, however, need to ramp up significantly.”
Private homes will become part of the energy infrastructure — everybody will be a gentailer, creating, storing, and selling electricity back to the grid. The report notes that a 4% reduction in emissions could come from behaviour changes, but that this is difficult and takes time. Coordination between all levels of government will be needed for a smooth and just transition.
The main point is that we have the tools to slay the monsters of climate that beset us. We have to get to work and use those tools, deploying technology that already exists and resisting the messengers who want us to wait for mythical silver bullets.
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