A new report released today has found that Queensland can at least halve its domestic carbon emissions by 2030 and create 87,000 new jobs across new industries by harnessing its abundant renewable energy capabilities and natural environment. Queensland is currently Australia’s highest carbon-emitting state, accounting for almost a third (32%) of the country’s total emissions.
The report: Queensland Climate Action Plan: laying the foundation for a successful climate transformation, was commissioned by the Queensland Conservation Council, Australian Conservation Foundation, and WWF-Australia and conducted by Accenture to explore the state’s current plans and opportunities to accelerate change. The three organisations are calling for greater ambition and action on climate change by both the private sector and the Queensland Government, as the state prepares to unveil its ten-year energy plan to help protect precious land and marine environments, create jobs, and boost the state’s economy.
The report calls for action in three key areas:
- Re-power Queensland with clean energy - decarbonising the electricity sector, which is the state’s largest emissions source
- Lay the foundations for a gigaton-scale land carbon industry by protecting and restoring 100 million hectares of forest and woodland
- Accelerate the development of a clean exports industry
With an abundance of land, sunshine, wind and vast energy sector expertise, Queensland has natural advantages as the world upgrades its energy systems. Solar and wind are already growing, contributing 16% and 3% respectively towards Queensland’s electricity generation so far this year , but greater ambition and faster action is needed if the state is to capitalise on its potential.
Quotes attributable to Queensland Conservation Council Director, Dave Copeman:
“Queensland will be squarely in the global spotlight as host to the 2032 Olympic Games. We have a window to step up our game and deliver real action on climate change.”
“Queensland’s current targets of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 30% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 are dangerously inadequate. They are not aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree goal and lag behind other jurisdictions such as the ACT, Victoria, and South Australia, where targets are both more ambitious and written into legislation.”
“The state has many of the critical elements of a climate strategy, but some key sources of emissions, such as coal mine methane, cattle methane, and deforestation, are largely unaddressed by current policies. Efforts have picked up in recent years, but faster progress is needed.”
“Building a world leading land carbon industry is a particularly big opportunity, by reversing emissions from land clearing to protect biodiversity and provide other benefits.”
Quotes attributable to Australian Conservation Foundation CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy:
“Queensland still depends on coal to generate over seventy percent of its electricity. Renewables accounted for only 19% in 2021. A more ambitious plan is needed to power Queensland with renewables for both our domestic needs and exports.”
“Continued dependence on coal and other fossil fuels leads to energy blackouts and skyrocketing energy prices, as well as more extreme floods and fires and bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.”
“Renewable energy is a win-win; it’s good for our climate and nature, creates thousands of good quality jobs and delivers more stable and affordable energy supplies.”
Quotes attributable to WWF-Australia CEO, Dermot O’Gorman:
“Our Sunshine State has enormous potential to become a renewable energy superpower and produce tens of thousands of new jobs. Yet despite its natural advantages, Queensland is at risk of missing out on the global renewable energy boom.”
“Queensland could create 87,000 new jobs this decade and be a leading global exporter of clean commodities through greater investment in industries like renewable hydrogen and battery manufacturing. This will include 18,000 direct jobs in regional and rural areas including Gladstone, Townsville and the Bowen Basin.”
“Queensland has the resources, capabilities and people to unlock these opportunities, but it needs to do the hard yards now. This is a once in a century chance for Queensland to be a leader on climate action and deliver wins for both people and nature.”