Sunday, December 5, 2021

Labor does not yet have a 2030 target – what do we know about ALP’s climate policy at the moment?

This week, the Morrison government finally unveiled its plan to achieve zero emissions in Australia by 2050.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese hastened to reject the coalition’s policies, calling it simply a “vibration” that is “nothing new.” His climate spokesman Chris Bowen added:

I saw more details in fortune cookies.

These are fair comments. But Labor’s climate policy is also lacking in details, and the party will not announce its full climate plan until the conclusion of international climate talks in Glasgow, which ends on November 12.

What do we know about Labour’s politics at the moment? Will it be environmentally efficient and fair?

No goal for 2030

Global warming cannot exceed 1.5 ℃ this century if we hope to avoid catastrophic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the United Nations body for assessing climate science) predicts that global warming is approaching 2.7 ℃. We really need to act quickly.

Labor does not have to announce its full climate plan until Glasgow is over.
Lucas Koch / AAP

However, ALP has no current plans to increase Australia’s emission reduction target by 2030. The party has set a target 45% below 2005 levels for the 2019 elections. But that was not what the scientists were calling for.

The Climate Council estimated the corresponding climate target for Australia at the time to be 65%. Today they argue that we can and should achieve a 75% reduction by 2030.

More: Morrison’s climate plan contains a “projection” of 35% emission reductions by 2030, but the modeling behind the 2050 target has yet to be released

Australia’s 2030 target is important because net zero is abstractly vague – it basically means a manageable balance between carbon sources and sinks. We need to know which parts of the carbon cycle and which industries, technologies and groups of people are involved and how.

Towards a green industrial strategy

ALP is signaling that it wants to focus on the labor issues underlying decarbonization. As Bowen often observes, “good energy policy is good employment policy.”

Following an excruciating carbon pricing debate during the Rudd-Gillard years and Labor’s shock defeat in the 2019 elections, Albanese announced heightened focus on policies to promote a green industrial revolution. Most recently, he joined world of work economists in arguing that the pandemic is exposing the Australian economy to vulnerable global supply chains.

Read More: Australia’s Zero Zero Plan ignores our biggest contribution to climate change: fossil fuel exports

Labor has proposed the creation of an AU $ 15 billion national reconstruction fund to diversify the economy and advance production, including renewable energy.

The energy transition is associated with the loss of jobs in fossil fuel-based electricity generation and associated mines and transportation. There are significant job opportunities in new green technology industries, but they don’t magically appear where jobs are lost.

Therefore, any transition to green industry policies must be carefully planned and site-specific.

Support for transitions in electricity and transport

Thanks to the boom in renewables, the electricity market is decarbonized. The Labor Party says it is committed to guaranteeing the transition.

ALP’s policy of “retooling the nation” provides for A $ 20 billion to rehabilitate and upgrade the grid in accordance with the Australian Energy Market Operator’s plan. Labor is also proposing a government agency called Rewiring the Nation Corporation that could reclaim some government property in the sector. For households and off-grid distributed energy, this promises a lot of support for utility batteries.

Chris Bowen and Anthony Albanese with an electric car.
Labor has pledged $ 200 million over three years to make electric vehicles more affordable.
Mick Tsikas / AAP

ALP is also committed to expanding vocational training and developing a circuit for electrical apprentices to gain renewable energy skills. But we need more details on how they propose to manage the transition in the hardest hit regions.

It is unclear whether Labor intends to continue to create the Just Transition Board announced under the leadership of Bill Shorten. Such independent governments are important for negotiating downsizing and retraining programs and economic diversity initiatives in hard-hit regions.

Transport systems are also on the cusp of a major transition. ALP has a fare cancellation policy to make EVs more affordable. He suggests working with unions and the sector to develop production capacity. But it could do more, for example, through pollution standards or mandating large manufacturers to meet requirements for the sale of electric vehicles.

What about food and fuel?

It all makes sense. But if “zero” is to be more than just a slogan, emission reductions are urgently needed in other sectors such as agriculture and mining.

Decarbonizing these sectors will be challenging economically, practically and politically.

Sheep in the pens.
In 2019, agriculture accounted for about 15% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Trevor Collens / AAP

Labor policy to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector focuses on offsetting carbon emissions in the land. Under this approach, farmers are encouraged to maintain vegetation and adopt agricultural practices that lead to more carbon build-up in soil and plants. These activities can be rewarded in the form of “loans” sold to polluting companies that seek to offset (or “offset”) their current emissions.

The Gillard government established the Carbon Growth Initiative as a voluntary land compensation scheme associated with a short-term emissions trading scheme. This continued through the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan as a combined competitive grant program and emissions offsetting mechanism under the Safeguarding Mechanism, which sets a (free) cap on the most polluting industries in Australia.

Labor and coalition approaches to carbon land are easy. Do not rely heavily on compensation to reach zero.

Read more: Hours go to zero, farmers should not get a free pass

Meanwhile, Labor has never properly considered the future of our mineral and energy export industries. Australia’s coal and gas exports will become apparent as trading partners such as South Korea, Japan and China strive to achieve zero-emission targets.

And Labor will be under constant pressure from environmentalists and indigenous peoples who have long called for major reforms to both cultural heritage and environmental laws.

Contamination capping

Labor has said it will not seek an economy-wide carbon pricing tool like it did under the Gillard government. This means that other ways of regulating and regulating emission reductions will be required. One of the possibilities is to strengthen the existing “defense mechanism” without creating a carbon market. As it stands, this mechanism allows large pollutants to increase their emissions, but this can be changed.

If Labor goes down this path, they will also need separate policies to tackle agricultural emissions. An effective climate policy should not be based on economy-wide carbon prices. Sectoral industrial policy and regulation can be a more realistic way to create incentives for innovation.

Upcoming elections

Federal elections, due early next year, are turning into yet another “climate elections.”

We urgently need a government that sees what jobs and livelihoods will look like in a decade of green industry transformation. Workers are proposing some new industrial parts, but the emissions target and plans for the mining industry and regional communities are vague.

We’ll need more details on Albanese climate policy soon.

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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