By Erin Remblance 

After the incredible federal election results last weekend, ZESN thought we’d take a look at the climate policies of the three Independent MPs in the Sydney North region to see their climate change ambitions, and how they plan to get there…

Zali Steggall, OAM, MP for Warringah

Target: 60% GHG emissions reduction by 2030, net zero by 2050

Zali Steggall’s ‘5 Steps to Net Zero’ plan:

The ‘5 Steps to Net Zero’ would put Australia on an immediate path to Net Zero, targeting a 60% reduction on emissions by 2030, and unlock all the benefits that come with that effort. Australia could add over 250,000 jobs and $680 billion to the Australian economy by pursuing policies that get us to Net Zero (Deloitte Access Economics). All policies would be funded through phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and ensuring all fossil fuel companies pay a reasonable rate of royalty.

  1. Provide a climate change framework for Australia to get to Net Zero: passing the Climate Change Bills will provide a legislative framework for emissions reductions by 2030 and 2050, and the ability to increase the targets and emissions reduction progress
  2. Transform Energy: commit to an orderly transition to 80% renewable energy by 2030 with no new coal or gas developments.
  3. Clean Up Transport: Support a minimum 76% target of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 through tax incentives, investment in charging networks, and improved emissions and fuel standards.
  4. Modernise Industry: Halve industry emissions through incentives for the production of green steel, green aluminum and green hydrogen and establish a fund to support communities.
  5. Regenerate Australia and future-proof agriculture: Roll out 8 mega hectares of tree planting and soil carbon sequestration and invest in low-carbon agricultural practices and innovative technologies.
Kylea Tink, Zali Steggall and Dr Sophie Scamps

Dr Sophie Scamps, MP for McKellar

Target: 50% GHG emissions reduction by 2030, net zero by 2050

Sophie plans to tackle climate change and ensure Australia becomes a renewable energy superpower by:

  1. Legislating Australia’s 2050 net-zero target and setting a minimum 50% emission reduction target by 2030.
  2. Supporting Australia’s electricity market regulator to deliver 80-94% renewable energy by 2030.
  3. Making Australia a renewable energy superpower with policies that support new jobs and industries in the global cleantech and energy boom.
  4. Making electric vehicles accessible to everyday Australians.
  5. Developing risk assessment and long-term adaptation strategies to protect our infrastructure, supply chains and communities from the impacts of climate change.
  6. Protecting and investing in Australia’s natural environment to regenerate our nation.
  7. Protecting Australians from the health impacts of climate change.

Kylea Tink, MP for North Sydney

Target: 60% GHG emissions reduction by 2030, net zero by 2040

Kylea’s published stance on climate action is:

• A clear and actionable plan to reduce national emissions guided by experts to achieve at least 60% by 2030.
• Removing the politics from the climate debate by introducing an independent climate change body to develop an evidence-based plan to achieve net-zero by 2040.
• Active collaboration with local councils and state government to make the federal seat of North Sydney one of the first Net Zero Urban Zones in Australia, to transition to a fully electrified community as quickly as possible (target date 2035).
• Improved fuel emission standards and initiatives that increase the rate of adoption of electric vehicles across Australia.
• The gradual and planned removal of subsidies for coal and gas, with no new coal and gas extraction projects.
• Protecting and enhancing our green corridors that are fundamental to the nature of our community and ensuring that any infrastructure projects undertaken in our electorate provide solutions for the next century, including:
– demanding transparency from the Prime Minister on commitments related to the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link; and
– calling for a suspension of any further work until key stakeholders (including local councils and resident groups) are satisfied that all alternatives have been fully explored and concerns addressed and mitigated.

How do these policies compare to the major parties?

All three targets are marked improvements on the Liberal Party’s target of 26%-28% reduction by 2030 and the ALP’s target of 43% reduction by 2030. Both parties are also planning to reach net-zero by 2050.

How do these policies compare to the science?

This recent report, titled Aim High, Go Fast, released by Australia’s Climate Council states that Australia should be aiming for a 75% reduction of 2005 emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2035. This is consistent with the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees of warming, which states that globally we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050, and that under the principle of equity high income nations that have long benefited from fossil fuel use and are highly developed need to reduce emissions by a larger percentage, to give developing nations more time to increase their standard of living.

What does ZESN love about these policies?

There is lots to love about these policies! In particular:

• The removal of coal, oil and gas subsidies
• No new coal and gas development
• The promotion of renewable energy and electric vehicles
• Support for green industrial processes
• The ability to increase net-zero targets and emissions reduction progress

What further policies could Australia have to support the IPCC goals and recommendations?

• A greater focus on eliminating fossil fuels via a legally binding planned reduction of fossil fuel use of 10% each year until they are virtually phased out by 2035.
• Car ownership reduction targets of 15%-25% reduced car ownership by 2030, and targets for an increase in active transport infrastructure and high-quality public transportation.
• Home efficiency improvements via insulation and electrification of homes (no gas) by 2030.
• Policies that support the localisation of food growing.
• 50% reduction in overall cattle numbers in Australia by 2030.
• A frequent flyers payment to reflect the environmental cost of heavy airline use.

All in all, the climate policies of the three Sydney North MP’s are a vast improvement on what Australia has had in place over the last 9 years. We look forward to seeing our MP’s achieve these goals, and Australia aiming even higher, and show the world even more climate leadership.