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In 2017 the Tasmanian Government released Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021 (Climate Action 21) and the Climate Action 21 Implementation Plan.
Climate Action 21 sets the Tasmanian Government’s agenda for action on climate change including reducing emissions, preparing for and responding to the impacts of a changing climate and supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Tasmanian Climate Change Office (TCCO) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of Climate Action 21 and reporting on progress.
The TCCO implements Climate Action 21 in collaboration with all levels of government, business and industry, the scientific community, peak organisations and the broader Tasmanian community. This includes seeking the views of others to inform the scope and delivery of programs and projects.
Each year, the TCCO reports on progress towards the implementation of Climate Action 21. This is the second report card which shows progress made from July 2018 to June 2019.
Since the release of Climate Action 21, Tasmania has experienced significant climate events including bushfires, floods, heatwaves, prolonged dry periods and unseasonal snowfall. These climate events present substantial risks for business, industry, local government and the broader community. Increasingly,it is becoming recognised on a global scale that all organisations, including government and businesses, need to better consider climate change risks.
In the last three years, the State has experienced two significant bushfire events, a record marine heatwave off the East Coast, a prolonged dry period creating energy security concerns, the worst statewide flooding seen in 40 years and ongoing coastal erosion and inundation events around the State.
In January 2019, Tasmania experienced a significant bushfire event, with hundreds of dry lightning strikes causing extensive fires in the Central Plateau, South-West and West Coast. The fires burnt over 200,000 hectares, destroyed homes, significantly impacted the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), and caused respiratory and other health impacts from smoke. This followed a significant bushfire event in 2016, which also caused extensive damage to the TWWHA.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate report records ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. Australia has warmed by over 1°C since 1910, with most of the warming since 1950.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report shows that these historical observations are going to accelerate, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent and intense in a changing climate.
This is supported by the Climate Futures for Tasmania project, our most important source of climate change projections. It found Tasmania is facing: significant changes in rainfall patterns; a rise in annual temperatures and more hot summer days; longer fire seasons and more days at the highest range of fire danger; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increased East Coast water temperatures.
These changes are expected to translate into severe climate events, including compound events that result from the combined influence of extremes in multiple variables that occur simultaneously.
Each year, the Australian Government releases its annual State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The latest figures, for the 2017 reporting period, were released in June 2019.
Tasmania’s net emissions in 2017 were 0.87 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2‑e), which is a 95 per cent decrease from the 1990 baseline level of 18.61 Mt CO2-e.
This result indicates that for the sixth year in a row Tasmania has achieved its legislated emissions reduction target under the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008, of 60 per cent below 1990 baseline levels by 2050.
At 0.87 Mt CO2-e, Tasmania has the lowest net emissions of all other Australian states and territories in 2017. Tasmania’s low emissions status is variable over time and the carbon sink in our managed forest estate is not fixed. It is influenced by a range of factors, including changes to forest management practices; changing harvesting regimes in response to local and global markets for Tasmanian-grown wood products; and the impacts associated with a future changing climate, such as increased bushfire risk.
A carbon, or emissions, sink removes more carbon than it emits. The removed carbon is stored, often in the form of growing vegetation. Tasmania’s forests offset the majority of our greenhouse gas emissions and are reported in our national emissions inventory in the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.
With the exclusion of emissions from the LULUCF sector, the emissions intensity of Tasmania's economy has demonstrated a downward trend, indicating Tasmania is successfully transitioning to a lower carbon economy.
Excluding emissions from the LULUCF sector, the annual emissions across the rest of the Tasmanian economy increased by only 4.9 per cent between 1990 and 2017. This is considered significant, given that during this period Tasmania’s Gross State Product increased by around 74 per cent and the State’s population increased by around 13 per cent. More information about Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions is available on the TCCO website at www.climatechange.tas.gov.au.
The Australian Government, as a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, joined almost 200 other countries in reaching a global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015 (Paris Agreement).
The Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Australia on 9 November 2016, sets a goal to hold the average global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
By 2030 Australia has committed to an emissions reduction target of between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels.
On 25 February 2019, the Australian Government announced a $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package to deliver on Australia’s 2030 Paris climate commitments.
The Package includes a $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund being delivered over 15 years from 2018-19. The Climate Solutions Fund partners with farmers, local governments, remote indigenous communities, and small businesses to deliver practical climate solutions across the economy that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Australian Government also announced $56 million in funding from the Climate Solutions Package to accelerate delivery of a second Bass Strait electricity supply interconnector and increase pumped hydro power projects that will make Tasmania the ‘battery of the nation’.
Projects such as the Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation pumped hydro can lock in our island’s energy security and demonstrate the Tasmanian Government’s positive contribution in the transition to a low carbon future.
The Battery of the Nation initiative sets a blueprint for how Tasmania’s renewable resources are developed over the coming decades.
In December 2018 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) was held in Katowice, Poland. A key outcome of the meeting was the development of the Katowice Rulebook needed for global implementation of the Paris Agreement from 2020.
On 8 October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. This Report found that human activities have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. It identifies a broad range of climate-related impacts that are projected to be lower at 1.5°C of global warming than at 2.0°C.
Recent developments in this area include an update to the legal opinion on directors’ duties in relation to climate change risks; a statement by the Reserve Bank of Australia on the economic impact of climate change in Australia; and advice from international ratings agencies on the inclusion of climate-related risks in their assessment.
Following these developments, Australia’s Centre for Policy Development has released a discussion paper on the legal obligations of public sector corporate boards and directors to consider climate related risk.
Climate Action 21 has 37 actions across six priority areas. The purpose of this Report Card is to show progress against each of the actions contained in Climate Action 21. The status of each action is shown as: In progress, Nearing completion, Complete, or Ongoing.
Since the launch of Climate Action 21, eight actions have been completed and eight actions are nearing completion. Nine actions are in progress and the remaining 12 actions are ongoing.
1.1, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3, 4.3, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 6.2
1.2, 2.7, 3.1, 4.6, 4.7, 5.2, 6.1, 6.4
2.2, 2.4, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 5.5, 6.3, 6.5
1.4, 2.1, 2.5, 2.6, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 4.8, 4.9, 5.6, 5.7