Australia’s heavy industry is moving ahead of their Government with commitments to net zero carbon by 2050, while the Morrison Government halts setting climate deadlines.
Australia’s largest industry greenhouse gas emitters; steel, aluminum, liquified natural gas, metals, and chemicals are committing to action plans that reduce their carbon footprint in Australia.
Net-zero refers to achieving an overall balance between the greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
For example, every tonne of carbon dioxide that has gone into the atmosphere has to be matched by a tonne you take out of the atmosphere.
Currently, this balance is skewed. For Australia to hit a net-zero carbon by 2050, it would need to reduce its emissions at the rate of 24 million tonnes a year every year to reach that goal.
Unfortunately, there are few ways to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, so new emissions must be reduced to make the removal task more feasible. This is achieved through transitioning to renewable energy from some of our worst offenders.
Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines said it’s Australian companies who are showing leadership on tackling climate change.
“We are leading by example through our ambitious, industry-leading target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Andrew Forrest is CEO of Fortescue Metals has been transparent with his stakeholders on the financial sacrifices that are needed to be made to transition to a greener future.
“What I’m now working on is a replacement for coal, and that’s green hydrogen. With a little bit of vision, a little bit of drive, and a little bit of risk, could we create a massive new industry that creates the steel which the world needs, which is zero carbon steel?”
Australia’s Heavy Industry Set Their Own Climate Deadlines
Similarly, BHP has also set net-zero 2050 emissions targets. Vice-President of climate change and sustainability at BHP, Fiona Wild states the importance of holding companies to account.
“So what I want to do, I want to make sure that when BHP sets a target, we have a really good idea about how we’re going to get there.”
BHP is trialing the use of biofuels in its shipments to reduce their emissions intensity on chartered shipping. As 290 million tonnes of iron ore was shipped from its Western Australian mining operations last year, the change will have a serious impact on emissions, estimated to reduce by 40% by 2030.
BHP’s vice president of maritime Rashpal Bhatti said, “We strive hard to work with our customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders along the value chain to influence emissions reductions across the full life cycle of our products and we fully support moves to decarbonise the maritime industry.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is deliberating on holding itself accountable. The Morrison government’s latest commitment to a more sustainable future is to reduce emissions by 26 to 28% by 2030.
Australia’s major trading partners used the climate summit to set ambitious 2030 goals and have already committed to net-zero 2050 deadlines.
The actions of heavy industry leaders to commit to personal climate deadlines outside national policy is the progressiveness Australia needs to push the Federal Government to accept accountability.