Plans for climate action in Australia

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is a think tank focussed on climate change solutions.

BZE has produced detailed plans for each major emitting sector of the Australian economy. If these plans were taken up quickley , Australia could become a renewable energy superpower.

This page has a paragraph on each BZE plan, ordered by sector.

The documents are all free to download, bar one. The plans are ready and the technology is ready. We need politicians to recognize the urgency of the problem and begin effective urgent action.

Energy Sector – Key Publications

Australia can become a renewable energy super power (2015)

This is a fantastic opportunity. Australia can grasp it by responding fully and rapidly to the climate emergency. If we act now, we can have lower electricity prices, reliable electricity, reduced emissions, more jobs, and a more prosperous and secure future. We can: take advantage of our exceptional renewable energy resources.

Australia can put all the BZE plans into action to generate niche businesses that can thrive in a zero-carbon world.

Repowering the Northern Territory (2019)

How renewable energy can power jobs and investment in the Northern Territory.

Repowering Port Augusta (2012)

This is a 2012 blueprint for replacing two coal power stations in Port Augusta with renewable energy.

BZE research and advocacy have had remarkable success. In 2012, the South Australian government held an inquiry into the BZE proposal and in 2017 the government signed a contract for a $650 million Port Augusta solar thermal plant. The plant could not win futher funding and will not be built, but the BZE achievement still stands.

Stationary Energy Plan (2010)

This 2010 plan was the first detailed and costed plan for Australia rapidly transitioning to renewable electricity. The plan was for solar thermal and wind generators, geographically dispersed around an improved national grid.

A reworked plan today would have to consider the dramatic falls in the costs of wind generation, solar generation and battery storage.

Industry Sector Publications

Rethinking Cement (2017)

Rethinking Cement is a research report presenting a pathway to zero carbon cement in Australia. Cement production is the biggest industrial producer of emissions, causing 8% of global carbon emissions – more than the global car fleet.

Electrifying industry (2018)

Industry can benefit from replacing fossil fuels with renewable electricity and eliminate up to 8% of Australian emissions. Electricity has advantages. It:

  • Can be used for high or low temperatures
  • Can double the efficiently of many industrial processes
  • Is quicker
  • Is more controllable
  • Is less labour intensive

Land Use Sector Publication

Land Use : Agriculture and Forestry (2014)

Emissions from land use in Australia are the largest source of Australian emissions of greenhouse gases. They are even greater than emissions from generating electricity.  We could significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by changes to land use:

  • Reduce land clearance
  • Re-vegetate some grazing and cropping land
  • Reduce cattle and sheep numbers to cut methane emissions
  • Reduce the land area dedicated to producing feed for the cattle and sheep
  • Increase the draw-down of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, e.g. tree planting
  • Increase the carbon stored in our soils, e.g. adding biochar to our soils

Transport Sector Publications

Electric Vehicles Report (2016)

Australia can move to electric vehicles, powered entirely by renewable electricity, in a decade. It is feasible and affordable, providing environmental, health and economic benefits. A shift to 100 per cent electric vehicles would eliminate at least six per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

Another benefit would be that Australia would avoid the cost and security risk of importing fossil fuel for transport.

High Speed Rail Report (2014)

Australia could have a high-speed railway on the Australian east coast within a decade. These trains would:

  • Link Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane
  • with 21 stations linking 18 cities and towns,
  • Run at up to 350 km per hour
  • Have 60% of Australians living within 50 km of a station
  • Offer travel without carbon emissions
  • Attract 65% of the people traveling from Melbourne to Sydney (Report, p 29)
  • Take less than three hours to travel from Sydney to Melbourne
  • Cost $84 billion (Report, p. ix)

Buildings Sector Publications

Buildings Plan (2013)

There are no technical barriers to achieving zero emissions from Australia’s buildings within a decade. The plan would transform Australian buildings to:

  • Increase their efficiency,
  • Reduce energy bills,
  • Generate renewable energy in many buildings,
  • Replace gas appliances with electric appliances to end the use of gas.
  • Increase health and comfort, and
  • Increase workplace productivity.

The Energy Freedom Home (2015)

The Energy Freedom Home Guide: Beyond Zero Emissions

A practical guidebook for renovators & builders. Be comfortable, healthy and independent in an energy efficient home powered by renewable energy. You could wipe out your home energy bills by moving through the nine steps in the guidebook:

  • Replacing old lights with LEDs
  • Stopping draughts
  • Improving insulation
  • Upgrading windows
  • Using energy-efficient appliances
  • Installing reverse-cycle air-conditioning
  • Using solar or heat-pump systems for water heating
  • Monitoring and controlling energy use, and
  • Using solar panels.

Community Sector Publications

Zero Carbon Communities Guide (2017)

Here is a guide for communities who want rapid progress towards zero emissions in their local community. It is based on BZE experience: working with several communities and the extensive Zero Carbon Australia research.

Australian Local Government Climate Review (2018)

This review provides a comprehensive assessment of the actions Australian councils and communities are taking to tackle climate change, along with the barriers and challenges they face. The nationwide review found many local councils have corporate and community targets as well as strategies to reduce emissions.

Energy Sector – Other Publications

Carbon Crisis Report (2015)

“Carbon Crisis Report: The Systemic Risk of Carbon Emission Liabilities.” Australia has a 50% chance of systemic economic crisis, caused by ignoring the global shift to clean energy. Australia’s industry and exports are emissions-intensive. This intensity is a growing economic liability, as the international community strengthens its efforts to limit climate change.

Fossil Economy Report (2014)

A Fossil Economy in a Changing World: The world is shifting away from fossil fuels – and this includes key importers of Australia’s coal and gas. Australian government policies ignore this, leaving us dependent on continued fossil fuel exports, at risk of: stranded investments, dropping export revenue, and a growing current account deficit.

Carbon Capture & Storage (2014)

Fossil fuel companies have promised us “Carbon Capture and Storage” or “Clean Coal” for many years. They have used these promises to: delay the development of renewable energy, offer hope to the coal industry, and delay action on climate change.

Laggard to Leader Report (2012)

Are you sick of hearing: Australia is only a small part of the climate problem! We shouldn’t act before the rest of the world! Our actions won’t make a difference, anyway! The Laggard to Leader report challenges these excuses: It exposes the true extent of Australia’s contribution to the climate problem and demonstrates our potential to lead the world.