Federal and state governments must do more to drive Australia’s energy market so it fits within the International Energy Agency’s sustainable development scenario and assist regional communities to start diversifying their economies now to prepare for change, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
As unprecedented bushfires rage across the country and devastate communities, the IEA’s newly released world energy outlook found that if the status quo remained under its ‘current policies scenario’, energy demand would rise “by 1.3% a year to 2040, resulting in strains across all aspects of energy markets and a continued strong upward march in energy-related emissions”.
“Allowing business as usual would be disastrous for countries like Australia, where people are already feeling the devastating impacts of the climate crisis,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods.
“Worryingly, even in the IEA’s ‘stated policies scenario’, which takes into account today’s policy intentions and targets in addition to existing measures, CO2 emissions still lock in severe impacts from climate change.”
Under this scenario, Australia is identified as one of the only countries planning to increase its coal production, despite withering demand from Asian countries and a decrease in the availability of financing for greenfield projects.
“Clearly, the only possible option is for the world, including Australia, to embrace the sustainable development scenario,” Ms Woods said.
“That will mean governments need to invest heavily now to support regional communities like the Hunter Valley where thermal coal is mined intensively to start preparing for change and to diversify their regional economies towards renewable energy and agriculture.
“The past few days, when unprecedented fires have ravaged many communities, have taught us that we cannot aim for anything less.
“The options are stark - continue as normal and face more climate catastrophes, or embrace the renewable energy revolution through diversifying economies in line with the IEA’s sustainable development scenario.”