The Australian government is launching a campaign to highlight its emissions reductions efforts amid accusations the nation is not doing enough to tackle climate change.
The public communications campaign, “Making Positive Energy,” seeks to highlight Australia’s climate-focused policies and achievements.
“We’re committed to actively supporting practical, long-term solutions to reduce emissions, but we know Australians want to better understand our country’s track record and the tremendous efforts which are already taking place to achieve this,” said Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.
This includes a $20 billion investment into five key areas in Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap, including green hydrogen, energy storage, low emissions steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon.
This also includes boasting a 20 percent reduction in emissions since levels in 2005, which the government says is in line with the goal of reaching a 26-28 percent reduction by 2030, as stated by Australia’s Paris Agreement commitment.
Part of the reduction rests in Australia’s largest emissions sector—energy—which the campaign says generated a record 24 percent of demand from renewable sources alone.
“This campaign is about informing Australians about our strong track record and future plans to reduce our emissions, while supporting Australian jobs and maintaining prosperity,” Taylor said.
However, the energy sector has continued to form a fissure between government and environmental groups that believe Australia needs to fast track its renewables rollout.
Further, the Australian government is facing an increasingly challenging task of maintaining Australia’s energy security whilst transitioning to a renewable-centric electrical grid.
Climate change communications organisation Climate Council has been an outspoken critic of the federal government’s energy policies, such as the decision to back a $600 million gas-fired power station in May.
“Gas doesn’t make economic sense in Australia anymore. It drives up electricity prices, it increases emissions at a time when the rest of the world is reducing emissions, and it creates very few jobs,” a Climate Council spokesperson said.
“Rather than blowing taxpayer money on harmful gas, the Federal Government should invest in renewable energy technologies that deliver win-win-win outcomes for electricity prices, healthier communities, and job-creation.”
The climate change organisation also heavily disapproves of one of the government’s core low emissions technologies—carbon capture and storage—saying it “doesn’t work.”
“After decades of CCS research and billions of dollars invested around the world, including here in Australia, there is little to show for it,” a Climate Council spokesperson said.
Energy Minister Taylor has previously hit back at these points, suggesting that emissions reduction had to be achieved through technological innovation.
“Analysis by the International Energy Agency shows that half the global reductions required to achieve net-zero will come from technologies that are not yet ready for commercial deployment,” Taylor said.
He also said that gas would serve as a dispatchable form of backup generation as more intermittent renewables, such as solar and wind, entered the system.
This comes as Australia’s Energy Security Board issued a warning in July that Australia’s grid infrastructure required a significant overhaul, without which the nation could face price shocks and power outages.
“What we’ve got is these activists who are acting against the interests of Australia, against the interests of Australian manufacturing, against the interests of Australian small businesses and households,” Taylor told 2GB.