In August 2015, Australia submitted its intended nationally
determined contribution to the UNFCCC, which included an emission
reduction target of 26 to 28 percent (on 2005 levels) by 2030 and a
renewable energy target of 23.5 percent by 2020. The cornerstone of
Australia's federal climate change policy, the "Direct
Action" reverse-auction plan covered in previous editions of
The Climate Report, has survived the leadership challenge in
September 2015 that saw Malcolm Turnbull replace Tony Abbott as
Australia's Prime Minister and leader of the conservative
However, there has been a significant change in the federal
government's policy with respect to renewable energy
investment. Responsibility for Australia's green investment
bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation ("CEFC"), and
the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has been shifted back to
the Federal Department of the Environment in a move widely
interpreted as signaling a departure from the previous
government's policy favoring the abolition of both
A directive from the Abbott government to the CEFC not to invest in
wind or solar energy has also been quietly dropped. In October
2015, the Federal Minister for the Environment announced that the
CEFC would finance an AU$30 million program of works aiming to
reduce emissions in the city of Melbourne. The program will include
rooftop solar power as well as upgrades to commercial buildings and
There have also been some major developments at a provincial level.
In September 2015, South Australia announced that it would increase
its renewable energy target to 50 percent by 2025, having met its
prior target of 33 percent by 2020. Queensland has pledged to
source 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by
2030, while the two largest states, New South Wales and Victoria,
have each set a renewable energy target of 20 percent by 2020. The
Australian Capital Territory, home to the nation's capital,
aims to generate 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable
sources by 2025, with wind farms, solar farms, and rooftop solar
expected to meet 60 percent of its energy requirements by
Several of Australia's major capital cities have likewise
adopted ambitious targets. Adelaide and Melbourne are in
competition to become the world's first carbon-neutral city by
2020, while Sydney has an emission reduction target of 70 percent
(on 2006 levels) by 2030.
Notwithstanding the above, Australia and New Zealand have rejected
a push by smaller Pacific nations for the region to unite in
advocating that climate change be limited to an increase of
1.5°C (compared to the United Nations' current target of
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The article is a review of recent developments in compliance, enforcement and prosecutions relating to environmental law.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).