Zero Emissions for South Australia by 2050

by Energy Action | Dec 15, 2015
The South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill recently committed to a new target of zero net emissions for the state by 2050 effectively bringing the state to carbon neutrality.

The announcement was made following the release of the recommendations of the South Australian Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel (“Panel”) comprising former federal Liberal leader John Hewson, ClimateWorks' Anna Skarbek, and ANU’s Frank Jotzo.

The Panel’s report identifies potential for South Australia to be a low carbon electricity powerhouse and a net exporter of renewable energy. Abundant renewable electricity combined with its rich resource base and existing manufacturing expertise mean that the State could be a natural base for energy intensive mining and manufacturing industries in a low carbon world.

The Panel also identified one particular opportunity to reduce South Australia’s emissions profile quickly, by implementing a State-based emissions trading scheme (ETS) linked to California’s ETS. California has the world’s most well established sub-national ETS and is thought to be actively interested in linking its scheme to other sub-national schemes the Panel said. However the Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter said the Government would not seek to implement a State based emissions trading scheme instead favouring a national scheme. “We believe this is the most practical approach to this question and will not seek to implement an ETS at the State level.” Mr Hunter said.

The Panel states South Australia’s per capita emissions are significantly lower than the average Australian per capita emissions. South Australia’s per capita emissions are 18tCO2e, as compared with 24tCO2e at the national level.

Graph for Per Capita EmissionsSource: Department of Environment, State and Territory Inventories 2013; and ABS population data.

South Australia also has a small share of emissions relative to its size, with 5% of the nation’s emissions and 7% of the population.

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