Australia can prosper in a low carbon world. Cost-effective technologies already exist to reach net zero emissions by mid-century.

In 2014, as part of the global 2050 Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project, Climateworks and the Australian National University published ‘Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation by 2050: How Australia can prosper in a low carbon world’. The report illustrates a pathway to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and maintain economic prosperity.

The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project brought together participating country teams. The 15 countries represented 70% of global emissions. ClimateWorks and Australian National University led Australia’s participation. The resulting report has since guided major policy commitments and business decisions.

All countries identified common three pillars to decarbonising energy systems.  In Australia, there is a fourth: reducing non-energy emissions in industry and agriculture.

Pathways to deep decarbonisation in 2050 explored those pillars in an Australian context:

  • Ambitious energy efficiency: in all sectors leads to a halving of the energy intensity of the economy.
  • Low carbon electricity: Low carbon electricity is supplied by renewable energy or a mix of renewable energy and either CCS or nuclear power at similar costs.
  • Electrification and fuel switching: from fossil fuels to bioenergy, and from coal and oil to gas UK reduces emissions from transport, industry and buildings.
  • Reducing non-energy emissions: are reduced through process improvements and CCS in industry, while a profitable shift from livestock grazing to carbon forestry offsets any remaining emissions.

The now proven approach is now informing our international work. Our Long term lowest emission development strategies will support our neighbours in the region. Locally, Decarbonisation futures is exploring how pathways can shift with emerging technologies.