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Environment, Government QLD

QLD steps up their ERT game: New Queensland Premier Steven Miles announces higher emission reduction targets and regional investment plan

CMC 6 mins read

After being sworn in as Queensland's 40th Premiere, Steven Miles uses his first speech to announce his government's priorities, which included ramping up the state previously inadequate emissions reduction targets (ERT), bringing Queensland targets more inline with the ERT’s needed to avoid catastrophic climate harm. 

Leading Queensland environment groups had called for a target of at least 90% emissions reductions by 2035, and while the new ERT falls short of this amount, 75%, it sets a floor on federal ambition, as it brings the sunshine state more inline with the ERT’s of NSW and the ACT. 

To bridge the gap between regional Queensland and urban centres in the south, Steven Miles has focussed his announcement on job creation and assisting industries to transition away from heavily polluting products and to create growth in green manufacturing and renewable energy production. 

As the climate warms, Queensland is home to the front line communities who are most at risk from the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, like bushfires, droughts, floods, heatwaves and cyclones. 

While environmental groups see this announcement as a positive step in the right direction, they want it to be backed up with rapid action and future increases to the state's ERT’s.

The following experts and members of local Queensland environment groups are available for interviews, otherwise, find their quotes below:

 

Dr Jennifer Rayner, Head of Advocacy for the Climate Council said “Queensland is stepping up its game to cut carbon pollution under new Premier Steven Miles. This is another welcome sign that Australia’s states are building on the momentum that’s well underway to cut harmful carbon pollution. This is the kind of race to the top on climate action we need. 

“Queensland has so many opportunities to seize the benefits of renewable energy and clean industry, and we look forward to seeing how the Miles Government will back this target in with new policy that builds on the Energy and Jobs Plan.   

“With Australia’s three biggest states now all having emissions reduction targets between 70 and 80 percent, this sets a clear bar for the Federal Government in stepping up action this decade and setting our next national target in the new year.”     

Location: Canberra, ACT

ENVIRONMENT GROUPS

Dave Copeman - Director of Queensland Conservation Council said “Today’s announcement by the new Premier is a strong step forward for Queensland and a clear acknowledgment of the urgent need for greater climate action across the state.

"The commitment to 75% emissions reduction by 2035 will serve as an important catalyst for greater momentum and commitment to addressing climate change on a state level.

"Action on climate change is pivotal if we're going to protect Queensland's unique natural environment and way of life. Queenslanders are already seeing firsthand that more frequent and extreme weather events leave lasting damage for communities and drive up the cost of living.

"While we welcome and celebrate this positive move, setting a target is only the beginning. If we are to keep Queenslanders safe, we need growing momentum in the transition to low emissions. The state must now ratchet up its climate ambitions across the board, implementing comprehensive policies and initiatives to ensure we meet and beat this target. 

“This is a pivotal moment for Queensland, and by working together, we can set an example for the rest of the nation in addressing climate change and the impact it’s already having on our communities."

Location: Brisbane, QLD

Dr Lissa Schindler - Great Barrier Reef Campaign Manager for the Australian Marine Conservation Society said “New Queensland Premier Steven Miles has made a significant commitment to tackling climate change and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. This is a big step towards limiting warming to 1.5°C especially for a heavily industrial state such as Queensland.” 

“We are already feeling the impacts of climate change and have seen the devastating impacts of warming waters in Florida, where whole reefs were wiped out. Climate change has been the driver of four mass bleaching events in the past seven years in the Great Barrier Reef, with concern for a fifth one during this El Nino period. El Ninos bring more marine heatwaves, putting corals under immense heat stress.”

“The Queensland Government must fast-track emission cuts this decade and keep working towards a higher emissions reduction target that is in line with limiting warming to 1.5°C – a critical temperature threshold for coral reefs. 

“Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, and its very existence is at stake. The Reef is our greatest natural asset and supports a $6 billion tourism industry and 64,000 jobs.

“We urge the Queensland Liberal National Party to commit to bipartisan support for both the renewable energy and emissions reduction targets,to help protect Queensland’s exceptional coasts and oceans, support jobs that rely on healthy environments, and provide certainty for businesses and Queenslanders.

“This is the critical decade for the Great Barrier Reef. We need both major parties committing to strong climate action to protect our Reef and the thousands of regional jobs it supports.”

Location: Brisbane, QLD 

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s climate and energy program manager Gavan McFadzean said: “This is a very good and timely announcement given the recent deadly Queensland bushfires and an expected brutal summer still to unfold.

“This target should be legislated to give business certainty and Queenslanders confidence.

“We call on Queensland’s opposition leader David Crisafulli to match this target to lock in a bipartisan approach and boost the LNP’s credibility on climate heading into an election year.

“The Albanese government is considering what its 2035 target will be. Queensland’s new target sets a floor for the federal target.

“Queensland’s spectacular natural environment and the lives of Queenslanders are under intense pressure from climate change, fuelled by burning coal and gas.

“New research by Ipsos shows 36% of Australians believe it’s likely that, within the next 25 years, they will be displaced from their home due to the effects of climate change.

“Queensland’s economy – reliant on resource extraction, nature-based tourism and agriculture – is highly vulnerable to climate change. Queensland is paying more than any other state for extreme weather.

“This 2035 target will help Queensland attract the capital and jobs that come with the clean energy transformation.”
Location: Melbourne, VIC

Rachel Lowry, Acting CEO of WWF-Australia said “Increasing temperatures will challenge Queensland’s way of life and threaten the existence of our amazing natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef.

“But a strong emissions target will help protect our natural treasures and way of life, lower climate-related costs, and give a fighting chance to efforts to Regenerate Nature by 2030.

“It’s major progress for Queensland and a step towards helping Australia fulfill our legal obligations to hold warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius under the Paris Agreement and the World Heritage Convention.   

“But 75% must be a floor, not a ceiling. It must be legislated, with a ratchet-up mechanism to increase it over this decade as new opportunities to decarbonise faster are unlocked. 

“WWF is calling on all Queenslanders, and all sides of politics, to support this new 2035 target as a good starting point, and call for more ambition, to protect our way of life.  

“The target is below what the climate science shows is necessary.  Australia and all States and Territories should be aiming for 90% below 2005 by 2035 as the absolute minimum, and ideally net zero by 2035.

“This is achievable with our amazing sunshine and wind resources, creating clean jobs, supporting new clean industries, and protecting the places we love including the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Lowry said.

ECONOMY

Dr Heidi Edmonds, Senior Project Manager for Queensland Projects for Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) said “This commitment from Queensland Premier Steven Miles to a more ambitious emissions reduction target gives industry and investors the certainty they need to ensure the benefits of renewable energy to Queensland’s communities.

“Increased  investment in renewable energy for industry and community in Queensland now is key to bringing online low cost renewables to repowering manufacturing and easing cost of living pressures. We congratulate the Premier on his leadership, investing in renewable energy industries will create jobs and grow Queensland's economic opportunities in the green economy.

“It's essential that this work happens with ongoing community input and shared understanding of overlapping land use needs. BZE encourages the Government to grow its support for diverse stakeholder engagement so that regional communities remain central to the vision for the renewable energy future. The land use planning work BZE is currently undertaking in Central Queensland can help accelerate this understanding.”
Location: Brisbane, QLD 

INDUSTRY

Vincent Dwyer, co-founder and CEO of Energy Estate and Director of Central Queensland Power said “The announcement of the Premier is timely, coming quickly on the back of the conclusion of COP28 in Dubai and the commitment by more than 100 countries, amongst other things, to the tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030.”

“Importantly for Regional Queensland, these enhanced emissions reduction targets help to underpin investment certainty, supporting the growth of the renewable energy sector.  That is good news across Queensland.”   

“Building on the existing Energy and Jobs Plan, investors can now confidently focus on the long-term opportunities in the State, building the supply chain, underpinning local manufacturing and, importantly, providing an important basis for bringing through new, well paid jobs in the regions.” 

“And in addition to the opportunities locally, the building of local skills, supply chains and infrastructure can also ensure the long-term export of renewable energy, through “green hydrogen” and its derivative products, to our key trading partners in the Indo-Pacific.”  “Queensland can remain a key exporter of energy, attracting significant and ongoing investment into the State.”

Location: Gladstone, QLD


For interviews with climate scientists, tourism operators and community leaders please contact Sean Kennedy, Climate Media Centre, 0447 121 378  sean.kennedy@climatemediacentre.org.au


Contact details:

Sean Kennedy, Climate Media Centre, 0447 121 378  sean.kennedy@climatemediacentre.org.au

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