Politics and social will; key obstacles to a zero emissions reality

As the Federal Government formulates its climate policy, a new analysis released today, shows that political and social will, rather than technical feasibility and cost, are the key obstacles standing in the way of a 100 per cent renewable, zero emissions electricity supply system being implemented in Australia.

The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan - a research collaboration between Beyond Zero Emissions and the University of Melbourne Energy Institute - shows that neither cost nor variability prohibit achieving zero emissions within 10 years; and that the technology required to achieve this goal is already commercially available.

The extra cost incurred by implementing the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan would equate to the cost of one cup of coffee per person per day according to Melbourne Energy Institute Director Professor Mike Sandiford.

‘The plan highlights that political will is the resource most lacking in realising Australia’s potential as the global renewable energy powerhouse,? he says.

‘The technology required is already available. The cost is not prohibitive. What is lacking is the political will and social drive to make it happens.’

Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director and lead author Matthew Wright says the new Prime Minister must consider the Zero Carbon Australia report’s findings when developing its climate policy.

?The Gillard Government must incorporate findings from the Zero Carbon Australia plan into its climate policy. Our research shows that baseload renewable energy is now available and that Australia can get started building a renewable energy system, right now, today,? he says.

‘Australia needs a nation-building climate change project with the scale and vision of a Snowy Mountains Scheme for the 21st Century. This approach can win the hearts and minds of Australians and put us on track to restore a safe climate. It’s in the Labor Party‘s DNA and electoral interests to do so.’

The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan (ZCA Plan) will be publicly available from July 14 on the Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne Energy Institute websites. The plan will be launched at a free public event incorporating a panel discussion at The University of Melbourne.