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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Response to the Review: Recommendation 1

That Tasmania set a new aspirational long-term emissions reduction target which is achievable and consistent with international ambitions to avoid dangerous climate change. Based on best available science, this target should be to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050..

Response: Support

The Independent Review recommends that Tasmania set a new aspirational long-term emissions reduction target that is achievable and consistent with international ambitions to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. It is recommended that the target should be to achieve zero net emissions by 2050.

In 2014, the Australian Government greenhouse gas accounts showed that Tasmania has reduced its emissions by 87 per cent and achieved the legislated target of 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Based on this achievement, the Terms of Reference for the Independent Review included consideration of the appropriateness of the current target.

The Independent Review found that, although Tasmania’s emissions profile is likely to fluctuate over time due to a number of factors, a target of zero net emissions is achievable. It notes that the target is aspirational and long-term and can be achieved through a combination of measures, including:

  • adoption of recommended practices for nitrogen fertiliser management;
  • managing the area of forest harvested;
  • actively managing forest carbon stocks to avoid bushfire risk;
  • adoption of cost-effective livestock emission reduction technologies;
  • development of infrastructure to support electric vehicles;
  • continued adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency measures and reduction of fossil fuel use for industrial and manufacturing processes, residential and commercial buildings and freight and passenger vehicles; and
  • strategic management of emissions associated with forest management.

The Independent Review found that the target is consistent with Tasmania’s brand and positioning in agricultural and tourism markets, and is necessary to ensure we are playing our role to meet the ambition clearly established in the Paris Agreement.

Under the Paris Agreement, zero net emissions will need to be reached during the second half of this century if global warming is to be limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The Tasmanian Government is committed to supporting international efforts to meet this global challenge and limit our greenhouse gas emissions. Establishing a new 2050 target of zero net emissions reflects this commitment. Our low per capita emissions and renewable energy generation mean that we are well placed to achieve zero net emissions while maintaining a strong economy.

The emissions reductions measures identified by Jacobs highlight the need to continue to look for abatement opportunities in all sectors. These sorts of measures will allow us to continue supporting households and businesses to reduce energy costs and ultimately help industry and businesses to adopt practices and technologies that will reduce costs and boost productivity.

The target recommended in the Independent Review is aspirational and long-term. There are many potential pathways to meeting the target, and they will be influenced over time by changes to national and state government policies, changes in technologies, and changes to Tasmania’s population and economic profile. Importantly, setting an aspirational zero net emissions target does not place additional burdens on businesses or households.