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South Australia to aim for zero emissions by 2050

South Australia will adopt a target of zero net emissions by 2050, as recommended in a report by the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel released today.

The Panel consisting of John Hewson, Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University recommends that South Australia:

  • Signals the transition to a zero net emissions economy by 2050
  • Supports the community and industry to transition to a zero net emissions economy
  • Implements the transition by taking action now

Premier Jay Weatherill said being the first to signal this intention to Australian and overseas investors will give South Australia a competitive advantage.

“As we head towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, South Australia has an opportunity to place itself at the forefront as a leader in transitioning to a low carbon economy,” Mr Weatherill said.

“The Expert Panel’s report is a roadmap for our State to reduce emissions in a way that supports job growth in new and emerging green technologies.

“One example is the potential for South Australia to be a low carbon electricity powerhouse and a net exporter of renewable energy.

“The state’s abundant renewable electricity combined with its rich resource base and existing manufacturing expertise mean that the state could be a natural base for energy intensive mining and manufacturing industries in a low carbon world.”

Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter said the Expert Panel also identified the state’s strengths in education and the potential for these to be applied to developing the skills and workforce for a carbon constrained future.

“This means providing assistance for workers moving from industries in decline into new opportunities is critical as is support for communities affected by rapid change,” Mr Hunter said.

“There are also significant innovative market opportunities for energy storage solutions from the state’s high penetration of solar PV, with the potential to attract and develop technology suppliers and expertise in the state.”

Minister Hunter said the Government would not seek to implement a State based emissions trading scheme – favouring a national scheme.

“Consensus for global action on climate change should be a trigger for the Federal Government to revisit the important issue of a nationwide ETS,” Mr Hunter said.

“We believe this is the most practical approach to this question and will not seek to implement an ETS at the State level.”

Further details of South Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change, including responses to the other recommendations, will be detailed in the soon to be released new Climate Change Strategy for the State.

Source: News Release, South Australian Government, 25  November, 2015