25 Nov 2015


Australia could successfully transition towards net-zero carbon pollution while maintaining similar rates of growth to the last five years if key actions are taken immediately, according to a new report.

The report, A prosperous, net-zero pollution Australia starts today, focuses on potential pathways to a carbon pollution-free economy in Australia for the period to 2030.

The report, prepared by ClimateWorks Australia and commissioned by WWF-Australia, shows that household energy costs could drop and incomes could rise if the nation takes strong steps now towards a carbon pollution-free economy.   

"With so much at stake here in Australia, our government has made a commitment to help keep global warming below 2 degrees, which is the right thing to do – not just for the world but also for our economy and way of life,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

“With strong action now, Australia can achieve this without a negative impact on our lifestyles. Indeed, an early transition could create a cleaner, modern and more sustainable future for Australia, while maintaining increased economic prosperity.”

The report finds that:

  • Australia could achieve over 50% reductions in domestic carbon pollution on a 2005 baseline between now and 2030. This is well beyond the draft emissions reduction target proposed by Australia of 26-28%.
  • Switching to more renewable energy is key; achieving at least 50% renewable energy across the Australian electricity sector by 2030 is well within reach
  • Australia can move away from a carbon-based economy while real GDP grows at 2.6% per annum to 2030 - similar rates of growth to the past five years.
  • Real wages could increase by almost 13% by 2030 as the economy transitions towards net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • As a result of energy efficiency in the home and car, overall household energy costs could be reduced by more than 11% in 2030 despite increased up-front costs and higher electricity prices. With income expected to increase by over 20% during this period (in line with GDP), this roughly equates to a 25% reduction in energy and transport spend as a proportion of household income. 

“Our economy has a history of successful adaptation to global economic trends and there is every reason to believe that we can also adapt to a net carbon pollution-free economy,” said Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks Australia.

“By beginning our transition to a net-zero emissions economy now, we can build resilience into Australia's economy and buy ourselves better options for the future."

“However, to reap the benefits we cannot afford to wait. The next 15 years are critical to laying the groundwork for a cleaner and more prosperous Australian economy.”

For more information:

Aileen Muldoon, ClimateWorks, 0419 112 503

Charlie Stevens, Senior Communications Officer, WWF-Australia