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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Developing a new climate change action plan

The need for a new action plan

Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021 (Climate Action 21) is due to conclude in 2021.

Now is the time to reflect on what we have achieved, what has changed since Climate Action 21 was released, and what action we can take to continue to reduce the State’s greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

The new action plan will guide the Tasmanian Government’s response to climate change for the next five years.

Guiding principles

To develop the next action plan we will build on the themes and outcomes of Climate Action 21 and:

  • seek the views of others to inform the scope and delivery of projects;
  • consider recent developments at a state, national and international level;
  • consider the best available evidence as we develop projects;
  • be informed by a contemporary understanding of climate science;
  • assess and respond to risks and opportunities;
  • establish effective methods and timeframes for evaluation and review;
  • monitor and report publicly on progress; and
  • share information and learnings with others.

Purpose of this Opportunities Paper

The purpose of this Opportunities Paper is to inform individuals and organisations about Tasmania’s climate change action and help you prepare written submissions as we develop the next climate change action plan for Tasmania, to:

  • reduce the State’s greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • support government, business, industry and the community to adapt to a changing climate, by understanding and managing the risks and opportunities.

We encourage submissions from a broad range of stakeholders, including individuals, non-government organisations, business and industry, academia, and government. This inclusive feedback is essential, because all sectors and communities will be affected by the changing climate.

Review of Tasmania’s climate change legislation and emissions reduction target

This year, the Tasmanian Government is also conducting an independent review of the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 (the Act).

The Act sets the Tasmanian Government’s legislative framework for action on climate change, including establishing Tasmania’s emissions reduction target.

Tasmania has achieved our target of net zero emissions by 2050 for four years in a row, so a key focus of the review will be the evidence and feedback on a more ambitious target.The review will also aim to strengthen our legislation and ensure it provides a sound foundation for our climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

A key legislative requirement of the independent review is consultation. A discussion paper is available for you to consider and send us your thoughts and ideas.The outcomes of the independent review of the Act will feed into the development of the new climate change action plan.

This year, the Tasmanian Government will also undertake detailed analysis of the pathway Tasmania would need to take to achieve a target of net zero emissions prior to 2050. We will also analyse the economic impacts of a more ambitious emissions reduction target. This analysis work will feed in to the public consultation on the review of the Act.

What have we achieved?

The Tasmanian Government has delivered the 37 actions under Climate Action 21 across the action plan’s six priority areas:

  1. Understanding Tasmania’s future climate
  2. Advancing our renewable energy capability
  3. Reducing our transport emissions
  4. Growing a climate-ready economy
  5. Building climate resilience
  6. Supporting community action

Key Achievements

  1. Transport
    • Electric Vehicle Working Group
    • Smarter Fleets - supported Tasmanian Government, local government and heavy vehicle fleets to improve fleet efficiency and prepare for electric vehicle uptake.
    • ChargeSmart Grants Program - Investment of over $600,000 to support a statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network
    • Transitioning government vehicle fleets to 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030
    • Community ‘Try and Drive an EV’ days
  2. Business Resource Efficiency Program – Supported 11 Tasmanian businesses to reduce waste in Tasmania.
  3. Power$mart Businesses – Supported 21 businesses to undertake energy efficiency audits and reduce energy use.
  4. 48 businesses completed continuity planning to prepare for and respond to extreme events
  5. Climate Resilient Councils – Supported 17 councils to understand and improve how climate change is considered by their council when making strategic and financial decisions.
  6. Climate change research
    • $750,000 in grant funding for 16 priority climate research projects;
    • undertook priority research on compound extreme events;
    • updated enterprise suitability mapping for key crops to support agricultural decision making.
  7. Tasmanian Climate Symposium – held three annual Symposiums in 2018, 2019 and 2020
  8. Climate Change and Health Roundtable
  9. Coastal Hazards Management for Existing Settlements and Values Project
  10. 12 statewide workshops for financial counsellors to better assist vulnerable clients in managing their energy use and power bills
  11. An additional 339 ha of land now irrigated with effluent under Fert$mart
  12. Conducting energy audits of government buildings

More information on the Tasmanian Government’s implementation of Climate Action 21 is available at:

What has changed since the last action plan?

There have been many developments since Climate Action 21 was released in 2017.

In the last five years, Tasmania has experienced significant extreme climate and weather events. Scientific data and observations continue to affirm the scientific consensus that changes to the climate are occurring as a result of a warming planet.

There have also been national and international developments in response to climate change, with implications for governance of business, industry and government.

Technology and innovation also present new opportunities as the world transitions to a low carbon economy.

The response to climate change also needs to be considered in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with governments, businesses and communities working together to minimise impacts and recover.


Changing climate

State of the Climate 2020 Report

The State of the Climate 2020 report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Bureau of Meteorology shows Australia is experiencing climate change now. Significant climatic changes in Australia are projected over the coming decades, including changes in extreme heat events, rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and extreme fire weather.

The report found Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 ºC since national records began in 1910. It also found that despite the slow-down in global fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide from early 2020, which is largely due to travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be negligible impact in terms of slowing climate change.

Key developments

Climate Solutions Package

In 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 to be delivered over 15 years, which will partner with farmers, remote indigenous communities, and small businesses to deliver practical climate solutions across the economy that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap

In 2020, the Australian Government released the first annual Low Emissions Technology Statement, the first milestone in Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap.

The Australian Government will invest around $18 billion in low emissions technologies through the Technology Investment Roadmap over the ten years to 2030.

The Low Emissions Technology Statement includes five priority technologies: clean hydrogen; long duration energy storage; low carbon steel and aluminium production; carbon capture and storage; and soil carbon. The Statement also highlights electric vehicles as emerging and enabling technologies.

The Australian Government has also released a National Hydrogen Strategy (2019) and is planning to release a national electric vehicle strategy.


Changing climate

Over the last five years, Tasmania has experienced two significant bushfire events, a record marine heatwave off the East Coast, prolonged drought creating energy security concerns and the introduction of staged water restrictions, and the worst statewide flooding seen in 40 years.

Key developments

A number of new plans and strategies have been released in Tasmania that are relevant to climate change, including:

  • Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan and Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target
    • The Action Plan outlines how the Tasmanian Government will utilise renewable energy to benefit all Tasmanians through job creation, helping the environment and driving investment through economic growth.
    • New renewable energy target of 200 per cent of our current electricity needs by 2040 that, together with additional transmission interconnection, can lead to lower emissions and improved reliability for the National Electricity Market.
  • Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan
    • Action Plan to outline the Tasmanian Government’s plan to ensure Tasmania is perfectly placed to benefit from the emerging global hydrogen industry.
    • The centrepiece of the Action Plan is the Tasmanian Government’s $50 million Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding Program, which may support the development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies to reduce transport emissions.
  • Agrivision 2050 and White Paper: Growing Tasmanian Agriculture Research, Development and Extension for 2050
    • Highlights the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to the projected impacts of climate change. It states that a key focus area for the Government will be to continue to support agricultural producers to reduce emissions; adapt to, and be prepared for, the impacts of climate change; and leverage opportunities for growth.

International climate policy

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

In late 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Key findings:

  • human activities have caused approximately 1.0 ºC of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
  • limiting warming to 1.5ºC requires major and immediate transformation; and
  • emissions will need to reach net zero by around 2050.

Climate-related financial and liability risks

Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures

There are increasing expectations from the community, and regulators and investors, that company directors (both public and private) publicly identify, report and manage relevant climate change risks, with potential legal liability if they don’t.

Since the establishment of the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures in 2015, there is growing evidence of climate-related financial and liability risk for government and business. This is being driven by key financial regulators, legal opinion and credit rating agencies.


The COVID-19 pandemic is also likely to have an impact on local, state and international action on climate change, as governments work to respond and recover.

There is an opportunity for climate change to be considered in economic and social recovery from COVID-19. This includes opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects, sustainable and green infrastructure, low emissions transport options, energy efficiency, and a focus on circular economy models. There is an opportunity for long-term economic stimulus packages that promote future growth and development, to incorporate low emissions objectives and consideration of climate change.

Economic Transition

As countries, companies and cities across the world transition to net zero emissions, Tasmania is ideally placed to provide renewable energy and low-carbon technologies to help them reach net zero and carbon neutrality.

Next: Key questions