Research Seminar Series

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Tom Torrento, Link Building (J13) 108,

Golnoosh Torabian, Link Building (J13) 108,

Understanding Climate Change in Australia

Dr.Gordon Weiss
Venue: Venue: Lecture Theatre 2,
J01 Chemical Engineering Building
Date: Friday 11 September 2015
Time: 11am
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About the speaker

Gordon Weiss is an Associate with Energetics, a specialist management consultancy that provides energy and carbon advisory services and solutions to Australia's leading organisations. He currently focuses on government policy work such as technical and commercial assessment of a variety of clean energy technologies including large scale solar PV, bioenergy and geothermal energy, and the modelling and design of state based energy efficiency trading scheme. He has recently written a number of reports that looked at the impact of the current economic and technical landscape on Australia’s emissions. Gordon is also an Honorary Associate at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Seminar details

If you think the modelling of the science of climate change is complex, you haven’t yet considered the economics and politics of climate change.

On August 11, the Australian Government released the proposed emissions reduction target to be taken to the upcoming Paris climate change conference. The target (called the INDC) of a 26% to 28% reduction in emissions relative to 2005 by 2030 was immediately criticised by the Labor Opposition, the environmental NGOs, the Climate Institute and the Climate Change Authority as not being large enough to address the 2 degrees of warming objective. Business groups took a different view and felt it was a balanced target that accounted for Australia’s international obligations as well as the impact that actions to reduce emissions will have on economic growth. Others, who don’t agree with the consensus view on climate science, consider any target to be too high. All this, against the Opposition’s own position of a 50% renewable energy target and the reintroduction of an emissions trading scheme. This is an example of the politics and economics of climate change in Australia.

In this talk, Gordon Weiss will cover the politics and economics of climate change. Australia emitted 549 million tonnes of CO2-e in 2013, and is forecast to emit 724 million tonnes of CO2-e in 2030 if no action is taken. The proposed reduction target means that emissions in 2030 cannot exceed 450 million tonnes of CO2-e, so actions must be taken. Emissions have been falling for the past few years but are expected to being to rise from here on. The talk will discuss the sources of Australia’s GHG emissions and what has driven the rise and fall of emissions. This is linked to the history of climate change politics and policies in Australia, and these in turn define the starting point for the national response to the 2030 target.