According to the United Nations, the world has 12 years to limit the impacts of Climate Change significantly.
As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Australia has an important role to play in fighting climate change over the next decade.
The good news is that many of the tools to make climate change progress already exist.
So let’s check out the ten ways Australia can start to fight against global warming in the years ahead aggressively.
1. Introduce a Carbon Tax
Over 70 per cent of the carbon emissions since the 1980s is due to the activities of one hundred fossil fuel companies.
What incentive do such companies have to change course?
Currently, there is absolutely no financial cost of producing carbon emissions. That’s why the Australian government, along with the other world’s major economies, needs to introduce a carbon tax. A carbon tax would provide companies with an incentive to switch to renewable energy.
Although Australia previously introduced a “carbon tax” in 2011, this was subsequently killed by the incoming Abbott government in 2014, according to the Guardian.
2. Greater Subsidies for Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, is becoming increasingly affordable and competitive. As a result, the Prime Minister has touted pulling the current subsidies for renewable energy.
If Australia is going to play an integral role in the fight against climate change, this is the wrong course of action. Therefore, more significant subsidies for renewable energy would result in a greater incentive for investments in clean energy.
3. Give up Dependence on Coal
Currently, Australia remains one of the most coal-dependent countries in the world. Australia needs to go cold turkey on its addiction to the black stuff.
According to experts, coal is not only one of the most significant contributors to climate change, but it’s also damaging to human health and the wider environment.
Australia’s allies, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have already made commitments to end coal over the next decade.
By contrast, the government has continued to back coal power stations recently. Again, this continues to show that the government denies the evidence of global warming.
The announcements that the government considers coal as the backbone of the energy system of Australia in the coming years suggests this is not good news for those concerned by the impacts of global warming.
4. Power Everything via Electricity
One of the most cost-effective ways to make climate change progress is to electrify everything.
Move away from oil heater and gas stoves and make everything electric. As the overall source of energy is primarily renewable, our energy system will be cleaner.
Furthermore, this also includes replacing fuel-driven cars with electric cars. Since in Australia, two-thirds of people drive to work, this could have a significant impact on the carbon emissions generated by the country as a whole.
How can we achieve this?
It’s a matter of more funding from the government, in the form of incentives. Plus, penalties for those unprepared to switch to electricity.
That’s because approximately half of the people in Australia are prepared to switch to e-vehicles. However, according to a survey, they are concerned about price and infrastructure.
If the so-called inevitable rise of electric vehicles is going to occur, the government has to encourage people to move to low-carbon vehicles.
5. Research and Development
Even though many of the tools for fighting climate change are available to us, there are probably many more uninvented technological solutions.
That’s why it’s important that the Australian government starts to increase the amount of money spent on research and development in the struggle against global warming.
According to experts, even the money currently spent is often not effectively commercialised.
The federal government has set aside $10 billion annual spendings for innovations in climate change solutions. However, it is yet to be seen whether this money will be used.
6. End Production of Fossil-Fueled Transport
Australia continues to lag behind other developed countries in reducing the transport which runs on fossil fuels.
Nearly 20 per cent of the carbon emissions in Australia is generated by transportation. Furthermore, as a large and sparse country, many Australians travel on domestic flights.
However, Australia needs to show the way by switching from a transport system fueled by fossil fuels to one driven by low-carbon and electric vehicles.
7. Halt Deforestation
According to reports, Australia is currently in a “full-blown land-clearing crisis“. By the year 2030, over 3 million hectares in the East of Australia will face deforestation.
Forests play a significant role in fighting climate change. They serve as a “carbon sink” by keeping carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere.
However, around the world, as well as in Australia, trees continue to be bulldozed to make way for agricultural land, and other damaging property uses.
Destroying forests causes more significant forest fires, extreme droughts and contributes even more global warming.
Australia has an important responsibility in maintaining the biodiversity on the planet. Nearly 8 per cent of plant and animal life in the world exists in Australia. Additionally, 85 per cent of animal and plant life in Australia is unique to here.
The Australian government needs to introduce a “zero deforestation” policy which bans the cutting down of trees to successfully fight climate change.
8. Encourage Reduced Meat Consumption
According to the United Nations, the reduction of the consumption of meat and dairy products is essential to fighting climate change.
According to the United Nations, animal agriculture accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global land use while this represents 20 per cent of the global emissions.
Australia is one of the biggest consumers of meat in the world. We eat over three times the global average of meat consumption.
Over the past decades, Australians have increasingly moved away from eating beef towards the eating of chickens. At the same time, Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world.
The Australian government needs to encourage people to reduce the amount of meat and dairy products they consume; achievable through a “meat tax”.
However, it seems more likely that the government could merely inform people about the benefits of a plant-based diet. But at the end of the day, this is also up to people who care about what’s happening to the planet.
9. Remove Carbon from the Atmosphere
Most of the solutions to fighting climate change are reflected by the need to adapt or mitigate climate change.
However, an increasing number of people are placing their faith in the removal of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
The technology is known as CDR (carbon dioxide removal) or CCS (carbon capture and storage). It’s only in the early stages, so it requires a lot more investment and research.
Although until recently the Australian government was investing $460 million in research and development with CCS, this has since been heavily cut. These cuts are another sign that the government is unwilling to do what it takes to tackle climate change.
10. Eliminate Food Waste
Currently, Australians throw away up to $8 billion worth of food annually. That’s an incredible 20 per cent of food purchased in the supermarket.
Many of the problems of global warming are related to the production and consumption of food. However, if we’re throwing so much of it away, something has to change at both ends of the supply chain.
However, the Australian government is showing signs that they’re waking up to the damage of food waste. In 2018, Australia became the first country in the world to announce a commitment to reduce food waste by half by 2030.
This commitment has been combined with $1.2 million investment to support charities and organisations which campaign to reduce food waste.
Hopefully, this results in the kind of changes that the government wants to see in the next few years.
Fighting Climate Change
Climate change is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.
As one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in the world, the Australian government has to fight climate change at every stage.
Now it’s your turn to decide what you need to do to contribute to fighting climate change. There are many things you can do to assist in reducing your carbon footprint.
Have you considered replacing your polluting vehicle with a low-carbon, electric vehicle? Check out our electric vehicles web page today to see what we have available.