Australian gas biggest loser as Japan revises energy targets

Japan plans to double its renewable energy target for 2030 and, at the same time, halve its use of gas, a move that could pull the rug out from Australia’s already flimsy gas-led recovery plans.

“Japan is one of Australia’s biggest export markets for LNG. This development could undermine the Federal government’s support for new gas earmarked for export,” said Dr Madeline Taylor, Climate Councillor and energy expert.

“The government has allocated tens of millions of dollars into opening up new gas basins like the Beetaloo basin in the NT and the Bowen and Galilee basins in Queensland, but it’s not clear this spending is necessary, given the growing uncertainty around having buyers for this gas,” she said.

The revised figures, laid out in a draft plan by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, says renewables should account for 36-38 percent of power supply in 2030, double the 18 percent level in March 2020.

Meanwhile, the share of liquefied gas in Japan’s energy mix is set to drop by almost half from 37 percent today to around 20 percent in 2030.

“Japan’s revised energy plans come months after US President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, where Japan pledged to slash emissions 46 percent from 2013 levels by 2030, up from its earlier goal of 26 percent,” said Dr Taylor.

“In contrast, Australia has not adopted a binding net zero emissions target, nor has it raised the ambition of its 2030 target, which is well below scientific recommendations. Japan’s move shows global momentum for climate action is accelerating.

This creates economic risks for Australian LNG exports, which represent up to 82 percent of Australian gas production”. she said.

“As one of the sunniest and windiest countries on earth, Australia could be generating and exporting renewable energy to meet rising global demand. The government must accelerate progress towards a renewables-powered economy instead,” said Dr Taylor.

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