29 Aug 2022


By WWF-Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Program Manager, Ariane Wilkinson. Ariane is an expert in climate law and policy, and leads WWF-Australia’s Queensland work to help turn Australia into a Renewable Energy Exports Superpower.

WWF-Australia has joined with Australian businesses to call on the Queensland Government to commit to an ambitious 10 Year Energy Plan and give Queensland a bright, sustainable future as a leading renewable energy exports superpower. We’ve got everything we need, right here in Queensland, to create thousands of long-term jobs in the industries of the future by taking ambitious action on climate.

At this year’s Federal election, we saw surges in support for candidates who campaigned for stronger climate action. In Queensland there were swings towards the Australian Labor Party and the Greens in key coal and gas mining regions, such as Flynn, Capricornia, Hinkler and Dawson, pointing to a rejection of fear campaigns and a readiness for conversations about the opportunities for Queensland on the path to net-zero. It’s clear that Queenslanders want smart and fast action on climate change that protects our world-leading lifestyle and creates economic opportunities in the industries of the future. Luckily for us, we’ve got some of the world’s best clean energy resources here in the Sunshine State to be a leader in creating climate solutions.

New research conducted by Accenture and commissioned by the Queensland Conservation Council, Australian Conservation Foundation and WWF-Australia, found that Queensland could halve emissions this decade and create 87,000 new clean jobs in new industries if it transitions away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. An ambitious 10 Year Energy Plan could be a key foundation to unlock this opportunity and capture the jobs and investment that will flow from being a renewable energy exports superpower in a rapidly decarbonising global economy. Having a clear plan is good for our economy, good for business, and it means that Queensland can do our part to protect our natural environment, including our world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

The research shows that with the right policies and investment, Queensland could unlock jobs across the state, particularly in regional and rural areas. Our Sunshine State has a natural advantage compared to other States and Territories, with an abundance of solar and wind energy capacity. Harnessing that renewable energy potential to grow clean energy industries, such as green hydrogen and battery manufacturing, could together support over 8,000 direct jobs, with three in every four of these new jobs in regional areas.

Queensland is currently Australia’s highest carbon emitting state, accounting for over a third of the country’s total emissions. Queensland is at risk of falling behind the rest of Australia and the world, and by not doing its part in emissions reduction may lose the opportunity presented by the energy transformation. New independent analysis by leading experts has found that Queensland’s cumulative emissions under our current emissions reduction targets of 30% below 2005 by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 would reach 2.9 billion tonnes of emissions by 2050 - almost triple the emissions budget available to Queensland to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Pathways for doing our part to limit warming to safer levels require that Queensland makes much faster reductions in emissions this decade and reach net-zero in the early 2030s.

There are massive advantages for Queenslanders if we act now to play our part to act on climate change. Queensland can drive down emissions while creating thousands of jobs in the industries of the future, and protecting our environment, tourism industry and way of life. The package of policies and investments proposed in the Accenture research would bring 87,000 jobs, and new industries to Queensland while improving our emissions reduction target to 60% below 2005 by 2030. That would be a great first step towards the level of emissions reduction ambition needed to protect our world-leading lifestyle.

All of the evidence points to greater benefits for Queensland with more ambitious action on climate change. Given our abundance of clean energy sources, Queensland’s 10 Year Energy Plan is the key to unlocking thousands of jobs in the industries of the future and harnessing our natural advantages to reach net-zero much faster and make Queensland a renewable energy exports superpower.