The Tasmanian Government has released Climate Action 21, a climate change action plan for 2017-2021.  The Plan follows the earlier draft plan, Embracing the Climate Challenge, released for public comment in January 2016.

Climate Action 21 sets out an “aspirational emissions reduction target of zero net emissions by 2050” and actions in six priority areas:

  1. Climate ActionUnderstanding Tasmania’s future climate
  2. Advancing our renewable energy capability
  3. Reducing our transport emissions
  4. Growing a climate-ready economy
  5. Building climate resilience
  6. Supporting community action

Climate Action 21 includes some significant improvements from the previous draft, but there is still room for more concrete actions to address Tasmania’s contributions and exposure to a changing climate.

Importantly, the government has committed $3M  over the next four years to implement the Plan.

Good stuff in Climate Action 21

  • Proposes to legislate 2050 zero net emissions target
  • Commits to annual progress reports against Plan milestones
  • Supports National Climate Science Centre and efforts to update projections for sector-specific and local government impacts
  • Aims to maximise renewable energy generation, and recognises the role Tasmanian renewable energy can play in supporting national emissions reduction and energy security
  • Acknowledges vulnerability to catastrophic bushfires, heat waves, flooding, storm surge and coastal erosion, and need to support local governments to improve resilience
  • Provides subsidies for training to develop skills in climate-related industries (e.g solar panel installation)
  • Commits to developing a waste management strategy
  • Recognises need to address climate-related population health risks
  • Commits to working with agencies to “embed climate change consideration into strategies and decisions, particularly relating to assets and infrastructure, and key growth sectors” and to improve climate considerations in purchasing decisions

Areas for Improvement

  • The Plan continues to focus on role of forest sinks in achieving net zero emissions, but fails to acknowledges government policies to revitalise forest industry or impacts of increased use of forest residues as fuel sources.
  • The Plan does not set interim or sectoral emission reduction targets – all sectors should be subject to emissions reduction goals, to avoid over-reliance on forestry to achieve overall emission target.
  • Despite aiming to “maximise renewable energy”, no target is set for meeting Tasmania’s stationary energy needs from renewable sources.
  • Many of the actions relate to improving information, developing strategies and implementation plans. There is clearly a role for further investigation in many areas, but ample resources already exist to allow government to set a bold, clear and ambitious action plan.