Australia's Statement at COP21 Acknowledges Zero Emissions Future - No Plan To Get There

NOVEMBER 30, 2015

(PARIS)-- Beyond Zero Emissions  welcomes Malcolm Turnbull's statement at COP21 in Paris emphasising ratification of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and doubling of government R&D funding for renewable energy technology. 

Responding to the announcement, Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Dr. Stephen Bygrave said:

"It is vital that all political parties show they understand that a global goal of 2 degrees or below means transitioning to zero emissions and beyond as quickly as possible.

Both Labor and the Greens have made recent statements with strong emissions reductions, yet we have heard nothing about strong emission reduction targets from the Prime Minister today. 

"Countries that can transition to zero emissions quickly should take strong action now. Australia is once again the lucky country - lucky to be a country that can transition faster, because of the superb quality of our renewables resource. 

 "While today's announcement of Australia joining 18 other countries under the Mission Innovation initiative  and more R&D by Prime Minister Turnbull is welcome, the fact is that technologies for a rapid zero emissions transition are already commercially available, they can already do the job of 24/7 power, and are already being implemented in other countries at an unprecedented pace. 

"In our work with communities we know Australians are ready for real and rapid climate action - some are beginning to plan for 10-year transitions right now . Around 150,000 people marching in Australia over the weekend are additional proof of that. 

"So, our question to the Australian Prime Minister is 'why wait?'

"Malcolm Turnbull will find he is supported by most Australians and the world if he now shows his true colours and restates what he said in Sydney in 2010 - that simple arithmetic shows that all of our energy both must be - and can be - sourced from zero emissions renewable energy technology - technology that already exists - by mid century at the very latest.

The government should also be highlighting specific steps it will be taking to transition to zero emissions. "Whilst announcements are all well and good, Australia needs a comprehensive plan for how to get there." 

 Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO                                                  

Adjunct Professor - Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Visiting Fellow - Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Associate - Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Melbourne University  

M +61 (0)40 890 7686 l Tel +61 (0)3 9415 1301 | S: bythegrave6 | T: @StephenBZE | 


Beyond Zero Emissions - 2014 Winner NGO Category Green Lifestyle Awards

Beyond Zero Emissions  is the award-winning Australian NGO and climate solutions think-tank co-authoring the acclaimed Zero Carbon Australia series, now in its 5th year.

The Zero Carbon Australia series is known for its expert sector-by-sector emissions analysis, fully costed projections and shift metrics scaled to 10 year zero and net zero transitions.

BZE's Zero Carbon Communities initiative is currently developing regional and council 10year zero emissions blueprints based on the entire ZCA series.


Malcolm Turnbull Speech @COP21

Mr President, Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

 From Australia we come with confidence and optimism.

 We are not daunted by our challenge.

 It inspires us. It energises us.

 We do not doubt the implications of the science, or the scale of the challenge.

 But above all we do not doubt the capacity of humanity to meet it - with imagination, innovation and the prudence that befits those, like us, who make decisions that will affect not just our own children and grandchildren but generations yet unborn.

 And Mr President while we come to you in Paris with our deepest condolences, we bring you the most resolute solidarity in our common cause for freedom in the face of terrorism.

 Here in Paris Australia supports a new – and truly global – climate agreement.

 It is an agreement that must drive humanity’s capacity for inventiveness and a new wave of technological advances.

 Good for our environment, good for our economies.

 I join over 150 leaders in calling for a strong and effective agreement.

 And over 180 countries have now announced post-2020 targets.

 This is an extraordinary effort.

 For Australia’s part, our 2030 target represents real economic effort, and will halve our per capita emissions – one of the biggest reductions of any G20 country.

 We will meet and beat our 2020 emissions reduction target.

 Today I  announce that Australia will ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.


We firmly believe that it is innovation and technology which will enable us both to drive stronger economic growth and a cleaner environment.

We are a highly social and innovative species and so the more we share innovative technologies, the better they will become.

 Today Australia joins with many other countries in supporting Mission Innovation which aims to double investment in clean energy innovation over the next five years.

 Australian universities are at the forefront of energy and climate science innovation.

 To give one example, the University of New South Wales has held the world record for solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 32 years.

 And by 2018 over 60 per cent of the world’s solar cells are to use technology developed by Australian researchers.

 But our task, and that of the technologies we deploy, is not just to reduce emissions.

 The impacts of global warming are already being felt and will continue to be so even after we reach global net zero emissions.

 Adaption to the impacts of climate change is equally important and there too innovation is a key.

 Some of the most vulnerable nations are our Pacific neighbours and we are helping them to build resilience through practical action and assistance.

To this end, Australia will contribute at least $1 billion over the next five years from our existing aid budget both to build climate resilience and reduce emissions.


 Our agreement here in Paris must provide a common platform for action, the dynamism to build ambition and a robust and transparent reporting system.

 Australia is not daunted by the challenge. With great optimism and faith in humanity’s genius for invention, we are confident that with your leadership, Mr President, we will, in common cause, secure our future.