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Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action

  • May 07 2021
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Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action

By Cameron Micallef
May 07 2021

Failure to spend $63 billion over the next five years to strengthen climate targets and policies will cost Australia’s GDP 3.6 per cent per year, costing up to 880,000 jobs by 2070, according to a new report.

Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action

Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action

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  • May 07 2021
  • Share

Failure to spend $63 billion over the next five years to strengthen climate targets and policies will cost Australia’s GDP 3.6 per cent per year, costing up to 880,000 jobs by 2070, according to a new report.

Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action

According to the report, titled Building back better: the intersection of climate solutions, healthy people, and thriving communities, drafted in partnership with Aware Super, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a once in a generation opportunity to reset Australia’s climate policy.

The report said that if Australia goes down the green path, it would add 250,000 new green jobs by 2070 and reduce an average family’s power bill by $550 a year.

Failure to invest in renewable energy is set to cost more than $19 billion per year from 2030, in lost jobs and agriculture losses, rising to $3.4 trillion by 2070.

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CEO of Aware Super, Deanne Stewart, said that if our COVID recovery is focused solely on getting back to where we were 12 months ago, it would be a wasted opportunity.

“Before COVID-19, our economy was stagnant, our labour force was casualising in the gig economy and inflation was stubbornly stalled below the Reserve Bank’s target range,” she said.

“At the same time, the cost of living for Australians continued to swell, driven by factors such as energy prices and the housing market. We don’t want to return to that – we need to reshape the Australian dream.”

Report lead Dr Huntley called on the federal government to move the climate conversation forward with meaningful action, following the recent world leaders’ climate summit.

During the world summit, the Morrison government promised that Australia would make bankable reductions to its carbon emissions, without a concrete 2050 net-zero emissions target.

The Prime Minister said Australia will continue its plan to reach its previous reduction targets of lowering greenhouse gas production by 26-28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.

Not willing to admit this possible failure, Mr Morrison said Australia would reach net-zero as “quickly as possible, and preferably by 2050”, relying on business investment, clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to reduce emissions.

“We are hearing positive talk about climate solutions from our government, but this is yet to translate to action. It is costing taxpayers dearly, and the longer we stand still, the more it will cost us in the future,” Dr Huntley said.

“Many Australians already have solar panels on their roofs – they see the benefit to their own hip pockets and the environment. Many private businesses have called for a price on carbon or are investing in renewable innovation or re-skilling workers to enter greener industries. There is strength in numbers, and what we need now is for the government to come to the party.”

Ms Stewart added that superannuation can play an important role through investments in infrastructure, a transition to alternative energy sources and affordable houses, all of which will kickstart the recovery.

“Capitalising on climate action is the logical next phase for Australia’s growth. It’s not about activism; it simply makes smart business sense,” Ms Stewart concluded.

Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action
Post-pandemic recovery hinges on climate action
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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