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More than a decade ago, Australia’s new Labor government announced it would cap greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation to 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Since then, the Australian government has cut the country’s emissions by an average of 10 per cent per year.
But this year the Turnbull government is taking the next step by taking another step to limit carbon emissions and is set to announce a new policy that will make electricity generation 100 per cent renewable by 2050.
The target will mean that Australia will have achieved its 2020 targets of 20 per cent by 2030, and another 20 per by 2050, and 40 per by the end of the century.
“What we’re doing is delivering a clean energy future for the people of Australia,” Turnbull told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
The Turnbull government will also introduce a new carbon price of $30 a tonne for electricity, with $30 per tonne of carbon trading.
The price will be applied to all goods and services that are generated from the electricity sector, including gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectricity.
The government has also promised to set up an independent national emissions trading scheme, and to introduce a carbon tax.
But how much carbon is Australia exporting?
Australia exports a staggering 1.7 per cent of its energy to other countries, which accounts for almost a quarter of its emissions.
This figure is a key indicator of whether Australia is making progress towards its 2020 target.
In 2020, Australia imported about 80 per cent (3.3 per cent) of its electricity from other countries.
This year, Australia imports almost half of its power from other developing countries, including Russia and India.
Australia also imports most of its raw materials, and is a net exporter of minerals, agricultural products, and timber.
The rest of its exported goods, including oil, copper and diamonds, are also produced in the country.
This means Australia’s exports to other developing economies are also increasing.
The average annual growth rate for the Australian economy has slowed down over the past few years, and now stands at about 2 per cent a year.
However, the country is forecast to achieve its 2020 goals if it meets the targets outlined in the Australian Renewable Energy Target.
What does this mean for the future of the climate?
The Turnbull administration is aiming to meet its 2020 emissions targets by 2030 and 2050.
This is a significant step forward.
Australia’s 2020 targets were based on the assumption that emissions would remain constant and the economy would grow.
The 2030 target is the result of an agreement between the Australian and international climate negotiators, and the goal is a 20 per, 20 per per cent, and 10 per, 40 per, 50 per, 100 per, or 100 per per per tonnes carbon reduction over the next 20 years.
The 2020 target will see Australia reduce emissions by 20 per year over the coming decades.
The 2025 target is based on a new framework of emissions targets, which includes a target of a reduction of 10.6 per cent in 2030.
This targets is also expected to be met, with emissions increasing by 10 per year and 10.3 tonnes per year by 2030 as a result of the Paris climate change agreement.
If Australia does not meet the 2020 targets, it will be required to reduce its emissions by between 30 and 50 per cent from 1990 levels, depending on the economic circumstances of the country and the country-specific target.
But is this a realistic goal?
According to Climate Council president John Gubbins, Australia should aim to reduce emissions at the lower end of this range.
“The 2030 targets are the worst case scenario,” Gubbis said.
“If you take the lower case and do the 10 per per year, you’re looking at the 2030 target being 40 per cent lower than what it would be if you did that.”
Gubbes said Australia could reach a carbon budget of around 30 per in 2030, but that would only come at the expense of reducing its greenhouse gas output.
“That would be pretty catastrophic,” he said.