Beyond Zero Emissions says Climate Change Bill will boost Australian economy

The Climate Change Bill and a net zero emissions target for 2050 would provide certainty to the private sector and unlock investment opportunities across all sectors of the economy, says Beyond Zero Emissions.

26 November 2020

The Climate Change Bill and a net zero emissions target for 2050 would provide certainty to the private sector and unlock investment opportunities across all sectors of the economy, says Beyond Zero Emissions.

Beyond Zero Emissions submitted the Million Jobs Plan to the House Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy on Thursday, a report that demonstrates how a zero emissions renewables-led recovery could create 1.8 million Australian jobs in key sectors such as manufacturing, buildings, energy and transport.

The submission included independent economic analysis by Chris Murphy (ANU) that highlighted further economic benefits including a $25 billion boost in private investment, a 1-2% boost to GDP and a 2% increase in real after-tax wages.

Chair of Beyond Zero Emissions, Eytan Lenko said, “Our Million Jobs Plan shows we could create nearly one million jobs in the buildings sector alone, by retrofitting existing housing stock and building new zero-emissions social housing. The presence of a net zero target and national adoption plans as outlined in the Bill would be a strong incentive for private investment.

“Clean manufacturing industries, such as green steel and aluminium, renewable hydrogen, electrifying industry and mining, and new energy metals would create over 200,000 jobs. Based on engagements with over 200 investors, business leaders, industry groups and communities, we know that a net zero target by 2050 could catalyse a sector wide transformation.

“We know developers are seeking clear policies to unlock billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy. Locking in net zero by 2050 could catalyse a wave of investment in major billion-dollar projects such as the 2GW offshore wind project Star of the South and the 4GW energy hub Walcha Energy.

“These projects, and many others like them, are achievable now and as the modelling shows, leverage substantial private investment.”

Opportunities with a net zero 2050 target:

  • Manufacturing (200,000 jobs): Australia has a successful history of manufacturing, but today just 7% of workers are employed in manufacturing – the lowest percentage in the developed world. However, as global demand grows for zero emission products, Australian manufacturing is well positioned for a renewables-led revival. We have abundant renewable resources, vast reserves of critical minerals, a highly-skilled workforce and world-class researchers and innovators, what is lacking is a target to align these assets. Our Electrifying Industry report shows the potential for manufacturers to move away from fossil fuels. The Million Jobs Plan shows how clean manufacturing industries, such as green steel and aluminium, renewable hydrogen, electrifying industry/mining and new energy metals can create over 200,000 jobs. The federal government’s Low Emissions Technology Statements are a step in the right direction, prioritising low carbon materials, clean hydrogen and energy storage and is supported by the Bill’s own technology assessment plan. A broader Net Zero target by 2050 could catalyse a sector wide transformation.
  • Buildings (900,000 jobs): Beyond Zero Emissions’ Buildings Plan shows the enormous potential to eliminate emissions in this sector. This is not only technically feasible, it will save on household costs, improve living conditions and kickstart the heavily impacted construction industry. The Million Jobs Plan shows that retrofitting existing housing stock ($36B) and building new zero-emissions social housing ($12B) represents two of the biggest no-regrets opportunities in Australia to reduce emissions. The presence of a Net Zero target and national adoption plans as outlined in the Bill would be a strong incentive for private investment.
  • Energy (200,000 jobs): Developers are seeking clear policies to unlock billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy. Locking in Net Zero by 2050 could catalyse a wave of investment in projects such as Star of the South (2 GW offshore wind, $10B), Walcha Energy (4 GW energy hub, $9B), Oven Mountain (600 MW pumped hydro storage,$1.5B) and Marinus Link (VIC/TAS interconnector, $3B). These projects, and many others like them, are achievable now and a Net Zero target will accelerate their development.
  • Transport (100,000 jobs): The next generation of transportation will rapidly revolutionise how we travel. However, at the moment this sector is Australia’s fastest-growing source of emissions. Electrified transport, powered by renewables, combined with active transport will provide a large part of the solution. The Million Jobs Plan presents opportunities in electrified buses and rail and cycling infrastructure which can create over 100,000 jobs in the next 5 years. A Net Zero target and technology assessment as stated in the Bill would drive innovation and adoption of this transport revolution.
  • Land use (200,000 jobs): Innovative land use is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to capture and store carbon while providing buffers to the worst effects of climate change. Ideas from the Million Jobs Plan include revegetation, regenerative agriculture, use of blue carbon in wetlands, kelp farming, learning from our First Nations people as well as soil sequestration, one of the five priority technologies in the government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement. These all combine to bring new jobs, opportunities and benefits to our regional areas. A Net Zero target helps give both industry and communities a clear goal while the national risk assessment and adaptation plans in the Bill provide a clear framework for these land use innovations.

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