Posted September 03, 2018 07:54:55 Australia’s carbon emissions are set to double by 2050 as the nation moves to a carbon-neutral economy.
A new report by the National Australia Bank shows the number of jobs created and the growth in employment in the carbon-intensive sectors are set for a steep climb, despite new measures to reduce emissions.
The report predicts the average per-capita carbon emissions in the manufacturing, mining, electricity, gas, cement and cement processing sectors will rise by 2.7 per cent annually over the next 50 years.
The National Australia Building and Construction Association (NABCA) says the report shows the economy is “locked in” to a transition to a low-carbon future, despite the federal government’s efforts to stop emissions from continuing to rise.
Key points: The report says the Australian economy will grow by 2 per cent a year, which is set to lead to a doubling of the number and type of jobs within a decade The report projects the number one contributor to carbon emissions will be the construction sector, which employs 1.6 million people globally.
Australia’s biggest construction sector employs more than half a million people, but most of that is in building for overseas clients, and the sector has been slow to ramp up.
NABCA CEO Andrew Bolt says the sector is set for rapid growth in the next 20 years.
“Our research shows that building for international clients will continue to be a major contributor to global carbon emissions, and that is why our global research is so important,” he said.
“If you look at the last 25 years of global economic growth, there’s been a net gain of about 3.4 million new jobs in the construction industry.”
He said this is driven by a combination of “higher technology” in construction and a shift from “traditional” manufacturing to “alternative” industries, such as “aerospace, energy, transportation and logistics”.
“Construction is an area of significant economic growth for Australia, and we believe the building industry will continue its exponential growth over the coming decades,” Mr Bolt said.
In terms of carbon emissions per dollar of GDP, the NABAC report projects Australia will spend more than $100 per year on fossil fuel combustion by 2050, with the amount spent on renewables at $11.6 per dollar.
Mr Bolt noted the number is still “high” because the “environmental costs of climate change are going to continue to grow exponentially over the medium term”.
But he said the government has been unable to stop the industry from burning fossil fuels.
“The Coalition’s plan to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030 has so far failed to deliver a zero emissions economy, and as the Coalition prepares to implement the ‘national strategy’ for carbon reduction, the report suggests Australia’s economic growth trajectory is set in stone,” he wrote.
Mr Bol said the Government’s carbon tax, introduced in March, had “taken a huge toll” on the construction and manufacturing industries.
He said the report is “critical” for the Government to make good on its promise to reduce the nation’s emissions by 20 per cent by 2050.
“With our economy set to grow by 1.8 per cent, the potential impact of the policy will be staggering,” he added.
The NAB is not the only group that is warning of a potential rise in CO2 emissions, with a recent report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative predicting emissions would increase by 0.9 per cent per year from 2020-2021.
The carbon tracker has predicted emissions will increase by 10 per cent in 2021-22, with emissions increasing by 20.6 cent by 2023-24.
This means a doubling in the number, type and number of manufacturing jobs in 2050.
The NABCA report comes after the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced plans to double the number (and type of) construction jobs by 2025-26, after announcing a new “green jobs” program.
Mr Turnbull also promised a $15 billion investment in renewable energy, while committing $1 billion to the carbon offset scheme, which aims to offset a portion of the carbon emitted by businesses.
The Government is committed to making Australia a “green economy” and said its “zero emissions future” plan would deliver an “economic miracle” in 2025-27.
It is also committed to reducing emissions by 40 per cent below 2005-06 levels by 2030-31, by which time the country will have a carbon budget.
But the NAB report says “a much more ambitious reduction” of emissions will likely require an “all-of-the-above” strategy.
It says the Government has failed to implement its policy to reduce CO2 from coal-based power stations, and says the government needs to increase investment in “green infrastructure”.
The NAPA report predicts emissions will grow at a rate of 1.4 per cent over the same time period, with an average increase of 3.3 per cent each year.
“We see a number of factors that may lead to