By Celine Lai
The Australian Federal Election will be held on 21st May 2022.
The ABC has reported that more Australians mentioned climate change as their number one issue than any other topic, with 29 percent of people saying it was important. That view was held by 8 percent of Coalition voters, compared to 30 per cent of Labor voters and 50 percent of people who vote Green. The findings are based on 97,159 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from April 11, 2022 to April 17, 2022
La Trobe University Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy associate professor Andrea Carson has said:
“Clearly, we’re seeing voters want to hear about climate change — not all sections of the population, but a large proportion of the population — and yet the major parties so far have been conspicuously absent in talking about climate change.”
Climate change was considered the most important topic across all age groups but was more commonly listed among 18 to 29-year-olds, 38 percent of whom said it was their most important topic.
And it has also shot ahead as a topic of concern in recent years, jumping from 5 per cent of Australians saying it was their most important issue in 2016 to 27 per cent in 2019 and 29 per cent in 2022.
The Coalition’s policy
The Coalition has committed to net zero emissions by 2050. This means that by 2050, the amount of carbon dioxide Australia is removing from the atmosphere will have to be the same as, or more than, the amount it is emitting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken a “technology over taxes” approach, saying Australia will get to net zero by investing more than $20 billion in “low emissions technologies” in the next decade.
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
- Low-emission steel production
- Using hydrogen as a fuel
The Coalition also plans to invest in electronic vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and has incentives for business fleets to switch to EVs.
However, it has not committed to changing its 2030 target of a 26-28 per cent cut in emissions.
The government’s plan for “clean hydrogen” will see fuel made using both renewables and energy from gas.
As for CCS, while the government believes real progress is being made on the technologies involved, many climate scientists believe it is not a serious alternative to wind and solar power.
To reach net zero, the party plans to:
- Upgrade the electricity grid to allow it to handle more renewable energy
- Make electric vehicles cheaper
- Install community batteries and solar banks around the country
- Modernise steel and aluminium production
Leader Anthony Albanese has insisted Labor’s plan would create more than 600,000 new jobs, cut power prices by $275 a year per household by 2025, and boost private investment.
The Greens’ policy
Unlike Labor and the Coalition, the Greens want a 75 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and want to hit net zero by 2035.
Greens leader Adam Bandt and his party want to phase out coal and gas completely and switch to 100 percent renewable energy usage as soon as possible
How do they plan to do this? The Greens want to:
- Develop more batteries
- Upgrade the electricity grid
- Reduce the cost of electric vehicles
The party says it would fund its climate change measures by taxing big corporations.
Earlier this year, the Greens also proposed a $40 billion renationalisation of Australia’s electricity sector, which would see all coal and gas-fired power plants phased out by 2030.
The Conversation looks at marginal seats and Independents, pointing out that federal plans for a “gas-fired recovery” from the pandemic make no economic or ecological sense.
The crucial indicator is the short-term national emissions target. The Coalition is sticking with a 26-28% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030. Labor is aiming for a 43% cut in the same period. The Greens and independents want more, and would legislate their targets.
But tellingly, neither major party mentions fossil fuel exports – the overwhelming and growing contributor to Australia’s global carbon footprint.
The message has been clear: the major parties are both pro-coal.
By comparison, the Greens say they would reduce Australia’s by 75 percent on 2005 levels and phase out coal and gas completely.
We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030
“Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as green hydrogen).
“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
To find your Electorate, you can go to the AEC page below and select “By Postcode” or “By Suburb” from the second box. Then in the first box type in the name of your postcode or suburb, and click on the Find button.
If you want to see the key seats for Western Australia and the candidates in your electorate, head over to the ABC’s website.