This section provides a summary of contemporary national and international policy development that may affect Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming years.
The Australian Government, as a party to the UNFCCC, joined almost 200 other countries in reaching a global climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015 (the Paris Agreement). The Paris Agreement, which was ratified by Australia on 9 November 2016, sets a goal to hold the average global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
The Paris Agreement highlights the importance of the contribution of all levels of government, including state governments, in achieving its goals. Under the Paris Agreement, the Australian Government has committed to a national emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.
The State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2016 notes that Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 525.0 Mt of CO2-e in 2016, or 13.7 per cent below 2005 levels. The reported estimate for Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, excluding the LULUCF sector, is 549.2 Mt CO2-e, or 5.1 per cent above 2005 levels.
Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, presented the Final Report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Leaders’ meeting on 9 June 2017. At the subsequent COAG Energy Council meeting of 25 August 2017, Energy Ministers agreed on the implementation of 49 of the 50 recommendations in the Finkel Review, including the establishment of the Energy Security Board.
On 17 October 2017, the Australian Government announced it would not establish a Clean Energy Target, as recommended by the Finkel Review. On the advice of the Energy Security Board, the Australian Government announced a new National Energy Guarantee (NEG) to set a reliability guarantee to deliver the appropriate level of dispatchable energy in each state and an emissions guarantee to contribute to Australia’s international commitments. The reliability provisions of the NEG, currently in development, are unlikely to disadvantage Tasmania’s early adoption of renewable energy.
The Tasmanian Government is a strong supporter of further renewable energy development, and has committed to make Tasmania energy self-sufficient by the end of 2022. Hydro Tasmania, with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, is working to enhance Tasmania’s hydroelectric and renewable energy supply to become the Battery of the Nation. This includes a proposal for pumped hydro energy storage (pumped hydro) to provide reliable energy production during periods of low wind and solar generation. Furthermore, Infrastructure Australia has announced that it will add a proposal for a second Bass Strait interconnector to its priority initiative list.
Tasmania is benefiting from the implementation of the COAG Energy Council’s energy efficiency and energy productivity programs to increase energy efficiency and ultimately reduce emissions across all sectors.
Under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), a budget of up to $2.55 billion has been allocated to fund emissions reduction activities. Nine Tasmanian-based projects have been awarded carbon abatement contracts from six ERF auctions to date. Five of these projects reduce landfill gas emissions, and additional projects protect forests on private land; sequester carbon in long rotation plantation forests; use bio-energy to supply industrial boilers; and recover heat from industrial processes.
The ERF Safeguard Mechanism, which commenced on 1 July 2016, impacts six Tasmanian facilities. These are large emitters that are now required to keep their emissions at, or below, their reported baselines set by the Clean Energy Regulator.
The Tasmanian Climate Change Office (TCCO) is assisting with the delivery of two national energy efficiency programs that report to the COAG Energy Council; the National Energy Productivity Plan and the Energy Efficiency Advisory Team. These programs aim to improve the energy efficiency and productivity of buildings, vehicles and appliances to assist in meeting Australia’s emissions reduction targets and save money for consumers.
In addition, the Tasmanian Government’s Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021 (Climate Action 21), which was released in 2017, sets the agenda for action on climate change through to 2021. Climate Action 21 includes practical actions to reduce emissions from Tasmania’s transport and agriculture sectors and articulates how Tasmania will play its role in the global response to climate change.
A key priority under Climate Action 21 is to reduce Tasmania’s transport emissions and operating costs by supporting the uptake of electric vehicles, including the rollout of a statewide electric vehicle charging network, and improving fleet efficiency through the Smarter Fleets Program.
At the national level, the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions coordinates a whole-of-government approach to address vehicle emissions, examining issues such as vehicle emissions standards, fuel quality, fuel efficiency standards, and emissions testing for vehicles in accordance with international guidelines.
To reduce emissions in the agriculture sector, TCCO is providing support to DairyTas to deliver the Fert$mart Program to Tasmanian dairy farms. The Program assists farmers to improve the efficiency of their fertiliser and irrigation practices.