Australian Energy Council backs net zero emissions by 2050

The Australian Energy Council has today endorsed an economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050 target for Australia.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said that the Council supported the Paris Agreement and recognised the need for developed countries to transition to net zero emissions by 2050 to help achieve the Agreement’s temperature goals.

“The first step to reducing carbon emissions is agreement on a long-term target which can act as the starting point for constructive consensus.

“Settling on an economy-wide target will let us then decide the best ways to get there and what policy and mechanisms could be applied,” Ms McNamara said.

“Our members have long accepted the science of climate change and the need to decarbonise the economy. In that regard we have consistently argued for well-designed, market-based, and stable national policy settings around which our members can invest.

“Australians want action on climate change as well as affordable, reliable energy and that will continue to require adoption of new technologies and investment.

“Technology will be a key part of the broader transition towards net zero emissions with increased electrification of parts of the economy, which will also help develop new jobs and opportunities for Australia.

“For that reason, the Federal Government’s efforts in supporting transformational technologies is a positive and welcome development that can help us reach a consensus on a long-term objective.

“Electricity generators, as major carbon emitters, have long recognised their key role in Australia reducing its emissions. As a result we have seen greenhouse gas emissions in the National Electricity Market fall by around 20 per cent over the past decade. We anticipate emissions will continue to fall as we continue the transition.

“The net zero economy-wide target does not imply that electricity emissions must necessarily fall to zero by 2050. Depending on technological developments, it may prove cost-effective to have a small level of emissions offset by carbon sinks elsewhere.”

“But our efforts need to be broader and a net zero emissions target across the economy we believe is the best way forward to deliver the Paris temperature goals at the lowest economic and social cost.

“Many state governments, corporations and sector associations support a move to long-term carbon targets and today we add our voice to that objective,” Ms McNamara said.

About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 24 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.

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