Australia’s leading engineers and technologists call for net zero by 2035

September 22, 2023

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has today called on the Federal Government to commit to an ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

In a new position statement, the organisation which represents nearly 900 of Australia’s most distinguished engineers and applied scientists, recommends immediate, substantial and concerted action to rescue the dwindling window for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In the face of increasing catastrophic weather, and as the UN Climate Ambition Summit gets underway in New York, the Academy has stated that Australia and the world are at a crossroads. Scientific evidence must be heeded, and more ambitious targets are needed to drive technological innovation, catalyse regulatory change, upskill the workforce, roll out the necessary infrastructure and spur a massive boost to investment across the economy to support decarbonisation.

The Academy is calling for a national effort across all Australian sectors, governments, and industries to set an ambitious benchmark for innovation which will equip the nation to become the renewable energy superpower it aspires to be, said ATSE President Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO FTSE.

“The science is unequivocal, the climate induced catastrophes are irrefutable. ATSE calls for leaders across every Australian sector to join us in making Australia a frontrunner amongst global peers, in setting an ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

“This science-based target will set a critical benchmark for Australian action, incentivising investment and giving a clear signpost to industry and governments to drive rapid deployment of existing and mature low-carbon technologies, as well as rolling out emerging technologies and exports.

“To meet this ambition, with the Federal Government in the driver’s seat, Australia should prioritise upskilling our workforce, and develop and urgently apply evidence-based solutions across all industry sectors – particularly in energy, transportation, manufacturing, construction, minerals and agriculture.

“Meeting this target will be a monumental challenge, but with immediate and large-scale action to invest in skills and infrastructure, as well as political, policy and regulatory support at all levels, it is achievable,” said Dr Woodthorpe.

The position statement also calls for a national net zero emissions policy and implementation framework that prioritises the challenge and addresses the opportunity to transform Australia’s economy; a zero-waste approach to supply chains; and reducing the impacts of human activity on biodiversity.

“We congratulate the Federal Government on the significant progress to date. However, we are making up for lost time and the pace of our low-carbon transition today, determines our tomorrow. Setting an ambitious target, based on science, which will act as a lightning rod for urgent government, industry and academic collaboration, is a no regrets step toward a net zero future.

ATSE commits to working across government and industry leadership to advise on best practice policy settings and supports urgently reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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