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More substantial investment in renewable energies is needed

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A more substantial investment in renewable energies is needed if Australia hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with climate science, says a UNSW expert.

Australia has reported a reduction in gas emissions due to COVID-19 restrictions, recording the lowest level since 1998. National emissions in the June quarter 2020 were estimated to be 8% – or approximately 10m tonnes of carbon dioxide – lower than a year earlier.

However, Professor Jeremy Moss, an expert in climate justice and political philosophy from UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, says more needs to be done:

“Australia’s domestic emissions fell less than 1% in 2019 while the emissions from our exported fossil fuels rose 4.4%. COVID-19 will only slightly alter that trend unless more is done.”

The Australian Industry Group has urged the federal government to spend $3.3 billion on renewable energy in the next decade in a pre-budget submission. It says the cost of “climate-related impacts and risks” is set to hit the country hard, even in the best-case scenario.

But Prof. Moss believes that this amount falls shy of the necessary investment required in renewable energies. “Australia will need to spend far more than $3.3 billion in the next decade to achieve reasonable greenhouse gas reductions targets,” he says.

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