Now is the time for Australia to commit to a 2020 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target

Seize the day!

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The pandemic has made it a much easier target to achieve and it will support the commitments of other countries. China has just committed to net zero by 2060, which raises the likelihood that the world will achieve net zero before then.

The pandemic has made it easier for Australia in two ways.

First, Australia’s per capita emissions have been falling and now our population growth rate is slowing significantly for a year or two. Before the pandemic Treasury forecast that Australia’s population would be almost 27 million by the end of 2022. Now Treasury projects a figure of less than 26 million by then. The population at the end of 2019 was 25.52 million, so this would be a very significant slowdown. It is mainly due to a very substantial reduction in net migration towards zero or possibly even a negative figure. The number of births may fall a little due to the recession and lower migration which is concentrated in age groups where fertility is high.

Second, absolute emissions will likely decline in 2020 due to a near shutdown in air travel and much less travel by motor vehicle as many employees have been working from home and interstate travel has been restricted.

The International Energy Agency expects global CO2 emissions to drop by 8% this year.

There is no better time than the present to make this commitment with confidence that it can be achieved in the wake of the current slowdown with current and emerging technology in energy production, beef production, and manufacturing.
Charlie Nelson