COP26 and the Australian Government’s Net Zero 2050 Commitment

COP26 and the Australian Government's Net Zero 2050 Commitment

The UN climate conference, COP26, finally took place in Glasgow, with expectations and tensions running high after a year-long delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

COP26 or the “26th Conference of Parties” aims to discuss each countries’ decarbonisation targets and how they can formulate an agreement to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius to save our planet, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

Significance of COP26  

This year’s COP was seen as particularly important, with countries due to have brought stronger pledges under the Paris Agreement’s “ratchet” mechanism. 

The significance of the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) is that it’s a form of a “renewal of commitment” since the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris (Paris Agreement). 

For this year, their goals were: 

  • The 2015 Paris Agreement will be the key driver to roll out actions against climate change. 
  • Rules on implementing carbon markets between countries must be discussed and agreed upon. 
  • All countries must submit their revised long-term goals to decarbonise. Addressing the current climate emergency is the top priority during the 26th Conference of Parties.  

In addition, COP26 hosted a “green zone” event where Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), national representatives, and citizen organisations can engage and discuss environmental awareness, and social equity issues related to climate change.  

Alok Sharma, President of COP26 stressed the importance of keeping global temperatures at 1.1 degrees lower than pre-industrial levels. “Most countries will be underwater if temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees. We have to succeed and come out of Glasgow credible and keep the 1.5-degree target alive.” Sharma added.  

Australian Federal Government’s Net Zero Emissions 2050 Plan  

Australia’s federal government revealed its plans to achieve Net Zero by the year 2050, just days before COP26. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that his government “wants to protect our way of life – the Australian way of life, especially in rural and regional areas. Our way of life is unique.”  

Morrison also mentioned that Australians will take action against climate change, but also want to protect their livelihood and bring the cost of living down. “We would meet and beat this target (Net Zero 2050) and we will.” Prime Minister Morrison added.  

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime Minister, congratulated Australia on its net zero emissions plans. Referring to the country’s 2050 commitment, Johnson said “That was very difficult for Australia because Australia’s very heavily dependent on coal, on lots of carbon-producing industries, and they’ve done a heroic thing.“  

Despite these challenges, the Australian Federal Government is determined to push through with its plans to decarbonise by the year 2050. At the cornerstone of the country’s long-term emissions reduction plan,  Australia unveiled its Technology Investment Roadmap.  

The vision is for Australia to be recognised as “a global low emissions technology leader” and the commitment to:  

  • Low carbon emissions will be deployed at scale  
  • Provide reliable, clean, and low-cost technologies for both residential and industrial markets  
  • Build technological partnerships with other countries to help decarbonise the global economy  
  • Ensure that communities and regional industries will have access to opportunities in new and traditional markets.  

Bottom line: Australia’s main goal is to reduce its carbon footprint by ensuring a prosperous economy, job security, and a comfortable way of life for all Australians.  

State Governments Taking Action in Australia 

The Morrison Government has been heavily criticised for not demonstrating real leadership on its approach to achieving Net Zero. In fact, the ACT, NSW, and South Australia launched a Net Zero emissions policy forum to tackle climate hurdles with WA declaring it signed up “in the absence of real leadership from the federal government. 

The multi-state, cross-party collaboration was designed to help state governments address practical challenges of achieving Net Zero emissions and growing their economies. In addition, state governments made a commitment to Net Zero by 2050 and set their own interim targets, prior to PM Scott Morrison’s announcement. 

For quite a while, the states have been ahead of the federal government when it comes to policies and targets to address greenhouse gas emissions. They are much further down the path than the federal government, but still somewhere short of where we need to get to,” according to Rupert Posner, ClimateWorks 

Local Governments are also taking direct action by implementing their own sustainability plans towards Net Zero. Some of them are joining forces with other Councils in regional blocs to meet their corresponding emission reduction targets (see example from Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action). 

Building a Net Zero future post COP26 

Between the period 2000 to 2016, Australia ranks as “the fifth-worst improvement in energy efficiency out of 28 countries reviewed”, according to an analysis published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

A fifth of the country’s emissions come from buildings, and they’re also notorious for consuming half of the power it generates. As Australia focuses on its response to COP26, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings can kick start economic recovery, improve health outcomes for people and cut carbon emissions. 

Energy efficiency and electrification of buildings across the country is urgently needed. This will help with our goal of Net Zero 2050 and it’s in line with the Paris Agreement. Energy efficiency is also one of the main pillars of decarbonisation. Lower energy consumption will clear pathways for us to transition to 1.5 degree Celsius easily. It’s also cheaper as the required investment decreases, compared to relying on zero-carbon energy resources. 

3E Group’s Commitment to Building Partnerships to “Imagineer a Sustainable Future”  

3E Group commits to building lasting partnerships with organisations to help them achieve their Net Zero ambitions. Robin Archibald, 3E Group Australia & NZ’s Group Managing Director, recently re-emphasized the company’s passion to Imagineer a sustainable future through scalable Net Zero solutions, following the 3E Group brand refresh and commitment to achieving Net Zero for 3E Group operations by 2024. 

To find out more about how 3E Group can partner with you to achieve your organisation’s sustainability objectives, click here to connect with the Net Zero Experts or call 1300 55 77 64.  


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