2020 has been an extraordinary year. It has tested all of our resolve to tackle global challenges.
On 11 December, Australia’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison joined other Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders at the High-Level Roundtable on climate change. This was an important opportunity for Pacific countries, including Australia and the Republic of Palau, to come together and discuss our response to one of the key challenges of our time: climate change.
We can’t afford to allow COVID-19 to disrupt global climate action. In fact, climate action, like emissions reduction, can be a central part of the world’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Australia is accelerating our practical action to drive down emissions and meet the targets we have set. We are fully committed to ambitious global climate action, and our ambition goes far beyond our borders.
We are focused on creating a pathway to net zero emissions through practical, scalable and commercially viable technologies.
And, we remain a steadfast partner in supporting the Indo-Pacific region respond to climate change.
Emission reduction targets
Australia is resolutely committed to the Paris Agreement. We are on track to meet and beat our 2030 target, having reduced emissions by almost 17% since 2005; over the same period, average emissions across the G20 as a whole actually increased.
And as announced by Prime Minister Morrison at the PIF High-Level Roundtable on 11 December, we are confident we won’t need to use carryover.
Australia is also building and investing in renewables at record levels. We expect renewables will contribute to 27 per cent of our electricity this year, growing to 50% by 2030.
In 2019, Australia deployed new renewable energy ten times faster per capita than the global average. One in four Australian homes have solar—the highest uptake in the world.
Australia, alongside many other countries, is pursuing technological innovation to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century.
The Australian Government has launched a Technology Roadmap and is investing $18 billion over the next decade to accelerate uptake of low-emissions technologies across our economy. This includes boosting the use of hydrogen, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles and piloting carbon capture and storage projects that can dramatically cut emissions.
We want to enable businesses to produce the materials the world needs every day—but with far less environmental impact.
Establishing global partnerships
Getting these technologies right can significantly reduce emissions across sectors that account for 90% of global emissions. But this will only work with global collaboration. We are building partnerships with countries like Japan, Singapore, Germany and Republic of Korea to make low emissions technologies scalable and commercially viable.
We also need technology-led practical solutions for developing countries that will not impede their development. Technologies like hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, battery storage, green steel and aluminium and soil carbon, will help countries grow and create jobs, even as they reduce their emissions.
Australia is building climate resilience both at home and internationally.
Adaptation and resilience must remain a focus too because the world is already dealing with the effects of climate change.
Right now, climate change and disasters are impacting Pacific countries. In Palau, saltwater inundation will threaten coastal communities’ freshwater reserves and agricultural opportunities due to salination. Most recently, Australia suffered devastating bushfires during our Black Summer over 2019-20.
In Australia we are establishing a National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency to coordinate adaptation and resilience efforts across all sectors of our economy.
To support others around the world, at the PIF High-Level Roundtable in December, Prime Minister Morrison announced Australia’s new global climate finance pledge of at least $1.5 billion over the period 2020 to 2025.
This includes a $500 million investment in the Pacific to support renewable energy deployment and climate and disaster resilience. This builds on our previous pledge to spend $300 million on climate change and disaster resilience between 2016 to 2020, which we exceeded – spending over $400 million.
There is still much more work to be done globally
Australia is committed to practical action to achieve net zero emissions, but global cooperation and partnerships are crucial.
In the wake of COVID-19, we must all grow our economies again. Our economies’ growth will depend on low cost, affordable, reliable energy. For this to be sustainable, we will need global cooperation to develop low emissions technology that are scalable and commercially viable.
With global collaboration, we believe this can be achieved.

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