Yes we can: is moving Australia to zero emissions by 2020 possible?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a new plan to help move Australia to zero emissions by 2020. Put together by a volunteer team of engineers, scientists and researchers it is well worth a look:

“For years the climate change debate in Australia has been confined to endless discussion of abstract policy mechanisms designed to deliver only modest reductions in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions at best. It could well be characterised as a debate between doing nothing at all, or almost nothing, to address climate change in the Australian context. That all changed this week with the release of the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan, a detailed and pragmatic blueprint for transitioning the Australian stationary energy sector to 100 per cent renewable energy within a decade.

The project involved a team of engineers, scientists, researchers and others — including engineers from the existing fossil fuel energy sector — contributing thousands of hours of pro bono work to put together a detailed roadmap of the steps necessary to replace our coal and gas infrastructure with renewable energy. The plan uses only technology that is proven, reliable and commercially available now, to allow for an immediate start, and for it to be fully costed…”

I know what I’ll be reading over the weekend. It also relates to some of the topics we’ve been discussing on this blog in the posts and discussion threads.

Here’s what the authors have to say:

“The world stands on the precipice of significant change. Climate scientists predict severe impacts from even the lowest estimates of global warming. The search for dwindling oil reserves is having dramatic social and environmental impacts. A rational response to the problem demands a rapid shift to a zero fossil fuel, zero-emissions future. The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan (the Plan) outlines a technically feasible and economically attractive way for Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy within ten years. Social and political leadership is now required in order for the transition to begin…”

With Labour poised to go to the polls with vague promises about action, this may what we should be debating.

About the report

It’s been put together by the following:

Zero Carbon Australia 2020 (ZCA) is an exciting initiative of Beyond Zero Emissions and the Climate Emergency Network, (CEN) with generous support from Climate Positive.

It is a project to develop a blueprint for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy by 2020.

The Project draws on the enormous wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in the community to develop a blueprint for transitioning Australia to a zero carbon future. Individuals with expertise, knowledge and experience in relevant areas can work within a structured process to contribute to the transition plan.

I know there are many readers here with expertise in technical and scientific fields, and if you have the time and/or passion they are looking for help:

Those wishing to contribute to the project can become a part of one of these working groups, or be part of the support team in different capacities working towards development and promotion of the final report. It is a not for profit project, therefore all contributions are made on a volunteer basis.

Perhaps you can help?


4 thoughts on “Yes we can: is moving Australia to zero emissions by 2020 possible?

  1. I’d definitely like to be involved.
    Although I’m with Barry on BNC – I doubt our future is a renewable future.
    That isn’t to say that there are not other ways to improve and decrease our CO2 emissions quicker and improve standards of living in other ways.

  2. […] Yes we can: is moving Australia to zero emissions by 2020 possible … […]

  3. Phil M says:

    I havent given up on renewables just yet. The guys at BNC are not really interested in engaging in serious questions from laymen about nuclear. For the 2nd time recently I tried to ask questions & was shut down.

    If they think running a campaign to get people more in favour of nuclear by simply telling you to go away if you dont like it, they are in for a surprise. I’m probably 70% in favour of it & even for people like me they are not willing to engage. So for people that are bordeline 50% or just under, they are not doing a good job at convincing anyone but themselves. It sounds more like a sales pitch than a discussion about the different energy types.

    If I was to go to a solar expert, they would likely be biased in favour of solar & say that really, solar is our only future & no, there is no question that nuclear or wind should ever be used, ONLY solar.

    Not all people are idiots & can smell a sales pitch a mile away.

    The guys at BNC are mostly of the opinion that solar & wind should never be used. Its hard to take that approach when there is a perception out there in the public that they CAN work. How can you tell someone who has a house that is totally self sufficient from solar that they would be better off paying skyrocketing power bills for the rest of their lives as opposed to $0. Hmmm hard choice.

    The argument could be made that not only is solar Co2 intensive to produce, but ALL taxpayers are subsidizing them, when only middle to upper class gets to benefit from them. The other side of the coin is that middle to upper class people probably consume a lot more power than say a pensioner, a student, someone on the dole or a poor person. So its probably a good thing that they are not powering their homes from fossil fuels.

    Its also hard to make the case that wind is virtually usless, when there are places like the falkland islands that use it to supply 40% of their power & are looking to do more. How can you say that doesnt work?

    Looking at the link above about the U.S R&D funding over the last 60 years. Renewables got 10% of funding, while nuclear got 53%. Is that a fair fight? What if the funding was reversed? Would we have better,cheaper & smaller PV cells & better more efficient wind turbines by now?

    Its a bit rich for the pro nuclear guys to start whingeing that renewables are getting subsidies & it would all fall flat on its face if the funding was pulled tomorrow. So would nuclear if subsidies & R&D were pulled from day one.

    I think in the argument of who can get us to low Co2 emissions faster, then nuclear has the lead. But they have huge public & political hurdles to cross before they can ever get people behind their cause & telling people to go away or using ad hom when they ask for discussion, isnt going to win them much support.

    Fortunately Barry has a patient ,level headed approach.

  4. Phil, I agree with you. When I simply uttered the word, “efficiency” on that site I was basically tied to the stake. They are not in favour of shared energy and will not entertain anyone who thinks unlike them.
    But I do agree, Barry isn’t one of the hard noses on that site.
    I personally feel nuclear as the high grade base with renewables on site to assist processes (like grey water treatment, cell recharge – esp for personal vehicles) is a sensible option. We’ve seen that putting all our energy needs into one source has come with many problems. Diversify.

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