Carbon Crisis Report

There is a growing recognition of carbon-related risks for investors. Australia has a 50% chance of systemic economic crisis, caused by ignoring the global shift to clean energy.

This study, Carbon crisis: Systemic risk of carbon emission liabilities, evaluates these risks to the Australian economy, currently heavily invested in emissions-intensive activities.

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.

Without changing the Australian investment focus towards cleaner energy, the country is on course for systemic economic decline; which means high unemployment, high debt, and deep recession.

Projections of Australia’s energy production expect our footprint to grow from 3% to 16% of the global carbon budget by 2050.

Global economic risks cannot be controlled by domestic actions and policies; carbon-related risks can be directly reduced by domestic actions and policies.

Penalties on emissions in excess of Australia’s fair share represents a 50% chance of causing a systemic crisis.

The time delay for investments to convert to real emission reductions requires forward planning. The earlier actions are taken, the lower the risk of crisis.

This report by Beyond Zero Emissions is a companion piece to the Renewable Energy Superpower report and the Carbon Capture and Storage report.


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Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an internationally recognised climate change think tank, providing independent and ambitious climate change solutions for Australia.

Our flagship research shows how all sectors of the Australian economy can decarbonise, repower and benefit from the transition to zero emissions. These Zero Carbon Australia plans cover renewable energy and electricity; energy efficient buildings; sustainable transport; agriculture, farming and land use; and industry.

Through volunteer-powered research we show that a thriving, zero emissions society is achievable and affordable now, and that Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.

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