Imagine your local community is energy independent, making its own power.

Picture the cars we drive and the big trucks delivering our goods help clean the air, and costs a fraction to run. And imagine exporting our sunshine around the world and earning many billions for our economy.

No, this is not an episode of the Jetsons. I’ve just described some of the practical solutions that are ready, now, to reduce climate damage and deliver health and prosperity for Australians. By committing Australia to be ‘net zero’ by 2050 the Prime Minister has finally committed Australia to a target that other nations signed up to years ago.

However, a target for Australia to reach net zero by 2050 is only meaningful if there is a credible plan to cut climate pollution this decade. The PM and Deputy PM have so far announced a plan to have a plan. They short-changed Australians by refusing to join other nations in at least halving emissions by 2030.

The PM may have thought his 2050 commitment would help us tackle climate change. 

But failing to do what’s necessary this decade will make climate change worse.

Failing to do what’s necessary this decade will make climate change worse.

Climate action now will create wealth and improve the health and wellbeing of communities. This is probably the most important decade in our history. A
switched-on government would see that the cost of too little action this decade far outweighs the cost to transition to a low pollution economy.

A responsive government would know the people want greater action. In August, the largest and most in-depth survey ever done on climate change found a majority of voters in all 151 federal electorates want greater action to limit climate damage. 

If we ramp up action now, industrial hubs in Queensland could be pumping out green hydrogen, steel and aluminium within the decade. We’ll need a lot of
renewable energy as we electrify everything from cars, trains, homes and industry.

Clean renewable energy is our future, and investors know it. Farmers can see the damage climate change is causing, and they are making moves to make agriculture sustainable and sequester carbon in soil.

Australia could be the envy of the world, but it will take genuine national leadership to co-ordinate this push. Our shared future needs it now.

Kelly O’Shannassy is CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation

This piece was published in the Daily Telegraph and other News Ltd papers

Kelly O’Shanassy

CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation.