September 24, 2023
Heavy Industry in Petaluma

Australian Heavy Industries on the Path to Net Zero: New Report Foresees Over 1.3 Million Green Jobs by 2050

A groundbreaking report has recently been launched in Australia, providing, for the first time, a comprehensive roadmap towards the decarbonisation of the country’s major heavy industry supply chains. The report outlines how these industries can transition to net zero emissions, aligning with global efforts to cap global warming to 1.5ºC.

The study represents a collaboration involving companies responsible for approximately one-fifth of Australia’s industrial emissions and a third of the ASX100 market value. The results underscore the need for strong, effective, and coordinated action from the government, industry, and financial sectors to enable a smooth transition towards net zero emissions.

The report was unveiled in Sydney at an event attended by The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and Lord Adair Turner, an advisor to the project via the UK-based Energy Transitions Commission. This publication marks the third and final installment from the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (Australian Industry ETI).

The report identifies five key objectives that will allow heavy industries to move towards net zero emissions in line with international efforts to limit warming to 1.5ºC. These objectives urge Australia to:

  1. Set a firm, transparent, and lasting framework with a net zero emissions goal to bring industry, finance, and government into alignment.
  2. Transition towards a large-scale, competitively-priced, renewable energy system for the future.
  3. Speed up the development and demonstration of emerging technologies required.
  4. Propel the deployment of low-carbon solutions, diminish barriers and support investment towards transition.
  5. Establish integrated net zero emissions industrial regions, supply chains, and energy network solutions.

Simon McKeon AO, Chair of the Australian Industry ETI and Chancellor of Monash University, emphasised that industry commitment to a long-term transition will facilitate the development of necessary capabilities, mitigate the risk of stranded assets and escalating energy costs, and ensure a future where Australian energy-intensive industries remain competitive in a decarbonised world.

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He asserted that with adequate ambition, coordinated action, and government support, industry emissions could decrease by up to 92% by 2050 compared to 2020 levels. High-quality and verifiable offsets for the remaining 8% could then bring the industry to net zero emissions, aligning with the goal of restricting warming to 1.5ºC.

The report paints a promising future, forecasting that over 1.3 million jobs could be created between 2025 and 2050 in an ambitious 1.5°C scenario. Investment by government, industry, and investors could support up to 64,000 construction jobs annually from 2025 to 2050, plus an additional 129,000 roles in operations and maintenance over the same period.