Climate solutions

Tasmania can make an important contribution toward solving climate change and thrive in the process!

Tasmanian greenhouse gas emissions including future targets proposed for Climate Solutions Tasmania project

The Climate Solutions project is creating plans to achieve exactly that. We're engaging with industry, business, community, and government to develop, promote and implement plans for Tasmania to become carbon neutral by 2035 and a net sink for the remainder of the century, all while thriving in the process. The plans will be practical, evidence-based and non-partisan so that all Tasmanians can get behind them.

Humanity will use our remaining 'carbon budget'* within 5 years. We're certain to overshoot, and so we must reduce emissions to zero as quickly as possible and then pull carbon back out of the atmosphere and sequester it back to safe levels.

Tasmania is blessed with:

  • Natural advantages of a stable climate, relatively consistent winds and rains, a huge forest estate, and fertile soils;
  • A big head start with existing renewable energy infrastructure;
  • An innovative agricultural sector;
  • A forestry industry that has great potential to become vibrant and sustainable while simultaneously sequestering huge volumes of carbon dioxide; and
  • A strong reputation as being ‘clean and green’, which we have the potential to further enhance.

Tasmania has already reduced its emissions by 90% over 1990 levels, so we're most of the way there! By steadily reducing emissions from each sector to zero by 2050, and continuing to regrow forests and transition to a sustainable forestry industry, Tasmania can be carbon neutral by 2035, a net sink for the remainder of the century, and thrive in the process.

4 ways to help us make it happen!

Climate Solutions Task Force members

Shane Bartel (Chair) 
Renewable energy consultant and developer
Board Member, Sustainable Living Tasmania 

 

John Pitt
Former Managing Director, Pitt & Sherry

 

Richard Bevan
Director Crisp Bros. & Haywards
Former Managing Director, Transend Networks

 

Jane Hutchinson
CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy
Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2016

 

Professor Ted Lefroy
Director of Centre for Environment, University of Tasmania

 

Peter Downie
Landowner & Sheep, Cattle and Carbon Farmer

 

Anna Lyth
Sustainability Consultant, RED Sustainability
Vice President, Sustainable Living Tasmania

 

Nathan Males
President, Sustainable Living Tasmania
CEO Myfoodlink

 

Where do Tasmania's emissions come from?

Click here to check out our awesome interactive visualisation.

 

emissions_pie.JPG

 

* Global carbon budget

The cumulative amount of greenhouse gases that humanity can emit while retaining a safe climate is referred to as the global 'carbon budget'. For a 66% chance of limiting warming to less than 1.5 °C (the safe limit as per scientific evidence [1] and the Paris Agreement [2]) the budget is 2,250 GtCO2-eq from the year 1870 [3]. Up to the end of 2015 we had already emitted 2,048 GtCO2-eq [4]. So we've used 90% of our budget and, at current rates, we'll use the remaining 10% in just 5 years [5]. 

Tasmania's fair share

While methods to calculate fair shares of the global carbon budget are debatable, one thing is for sure: Tasmania has already used ours many times over!

Allow us to illustrate with an example... When detailed global emissions reporting began in 1990, the remaining global carbon budget was 1,004 GtCO2-eq. Shared evenly across the world's population at the time (5.28 billion), the remaining budget per person was 190 tCO2-eq. Tasmania's population was 462 thousand, making our fair share of the remaining budget 88 MtCO2-eq. From 1990 to 2014, Tasmania's emissions totalled 324 MtCO2-eq - about 3.7 times our budget!

That we have used far more than our fair share of the global emissions budget, combined with us being so well placed to do something about it, means we are obligated to do so. With the Climate Solutions project, we aim to plan out what Tasmania can and should do. What's more, we aim to show how Tasmanians can thrive in the process!

  

Notes:

[1] This 2016 paper gives a good overview of the impacts of  1.5 °C and  2 °C: http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/7/327/2016/esd-7-327-2016-discussion.html

[2] The Paris Agreement targets keeping global average temperatures “well below” 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

[3] See Table 2.2 of the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report: http://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/topic_futurechanges.php#table_2_2

[4] See the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre's budget (Excel download). Note that they record values in billion tonnes of carbon per year (GtC), for the globe. To convert to billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2-eq) per year, multiply by 3.664:  http://cdiac.ornl.gov/GCP/carbonbudget/2016/

[5] According to [4], global emissions for 2015 were 41 GtCO2-eq

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  • commented 2016-11-13 15:52:06 +1100
    Enjoyed talking with your staff today at the festival. This is just the start!