For Australia to achieve net-zero by 2050, all coal, gas, and oil projects currently in the construction pipeline would need to be cancelled, according to a landmark report by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).
“This research reveals that a policy of net-zero emissions by 2050 will inflict significant and irreparable economic and humanitarian damage across regional Australia,” IPA Director of Research Daniel Wild said.
“Many regional communities face the risk of being entirely wiped out by the destruction of the industries which they rely on as a result of net-zero.”
Along with a complete wipeout of all the projects in the construction pipeline, Australia’s economy would also lose over 478,000 potential new jobs, with North Queensland to be hit hardest.
The cost of net-zero on the economy would be around $274 billion (US$200 billion) in both direct and indirect economic output, equivalent to 13.5 percent of the country’s annual GDP.
“Net-zero emissions means net zero jobs,” Wild said. “It says everything about the priorities of the government that they are willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of jobs in regional Australia to save a few inner-city seats in Sydney and Melbourne which will likely be lost to the Greens or left-leaning independents soon anyway.”
A report published in February and commissioned by Australia’s oil and gas coalition outlined the substantial contribution gas companies make to the economy both directly and indirectly.
It found that the gas sector supported around one in 46 Australians in one way or another and also played a critical role as the foundation of prosperity in many remote communities.
Meanwhile, environmental groups have argued that renewable energy would provide new jobs in a growing industry, with a Clean Energy Exports report from October 2021 revealing that Australia could have an additional 395,000 green-energy jobs by 2040.
Director of Climate Energy Finance (CEF) Tim Buckley told The Epoch Times he believes that Australia has the potential to become a world leader in the green revolution that is now he says, inevitable. However, the country is lagging behind.
“Australia should be a renewable energy superpower,” Buckley said. “We should be a renewable mining industry superpower.”
He believes that given Australia’s resource wealth in lithium, rare earths, copper, cobalt, nickel, wind, solar, and hydro, the country has everything needed to benefit from the global financial markets’ push for decarbonisation, which Buckley says will see massive investment, employment, and export opportunities.
Both major political parties have promised significant investment in renewable energy while also retaining and creating jobs.
The centre-right Liberal party plans to invest more than $22 billion (US$16 billion) in low emissions technology over the decade, while “preserving existing industries and jobs.”
The centre-left Labor party said its Powering Australia plan would invest up to $3 billion to support renewables manufacturing and deployment of low-emissions technologies and create 10,000 New Energy Apprentice places.
“Whether Scott Morrison can see it or not, we are in a race. Every major economy in the world is moving toward renewables, and if we do not seize this moment to invest in a homegrown renewables sector, Australia will be left out and left behind,” Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said.