- $24,191 million
Tasmania, the island state of Australia, lies 40 degrees south of the equator. An archipelago of 334 islands in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, it is a land of dramatic coastlines, rugged mountains, spectacular wilderness and sparkling highland lakes. Tasmanians breathe some of the world's cleanest air and drink the purest water. Unpolluted coastal seas and rich, fertile soils enable the production of the finest foods. Tasmania’s economy is increasingly linked to service-based jobs, tourism and niche produce markets and creative industries globally.
Tasmania has a legislated target of at least a 60% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. In November 2013, the Tasmanian Government released a long term climate policy - Climate Smart Tasmania: 2020 Climate Change Strategy. The Strategy has been congratulated as leading the nation, and for the first time interweaves mitigation and adaptation actions in the one plan. The Strategy also includes an interim policy target of a 35% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2020, and a renewable energy target of 100% by 2020.
The Strategy also outlines a vision for 2020: “Tasmania is internationally renowned for low-carbon living and renewable energy capacity. Our natural and built environment is adapting well to a changing climate and maximising carbon storage and renewable energy resources. With a resilient and prosperous society, Tasmania is an attractive place to live and invest.”
In 2010-11, Tasmania generated a total of just under 7.5 megatons of CO2-e emissions (Mt CO2-e). This represents a decline in emissions of approximately 34% from 1989-1990 levels. The decline in Tasmania’s emissions over the period to 2010-11 is largely attributable to reforestation of land cleared before 1990, as well as changes to the international accounting methods used to estimate emissions.
Tasmania’s emissions profile differs from the national profile and those of other Australian states and territories. The agriculture, industrial processes and transport sectors are a major source of emissions for Tasmania, whereas stationary energy is the major source of national emissions. This reflects Tasmania’s early investment in renewable energy. Up to 90% of Tasmania’s energy is from renewable sources such as hydro and wind.
Tasmania is a world leader in renewable energy and protection of natural values. Tasmania is also at the gateway to Antarctica, and home to internationally renowned climate scientists providing the state with crucial information about the likely impacts of climate change.
Tasmanian Government’s action on climate change is guided by the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 (the Act). The Act includes a legislated target to reduce Tasmania’s emissions by 60% below 1990 levels by 2050. It also has the objective to identify, promote and support measures to help Tasmania deal with, and adapt to, the expected consequences of climate change.
Undertaking a leadership role and doing its ‘fair share’ now demonstrates Tasmania’s commitment and responsibility to play its part in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. There is also an imperative to prepare, plan and take action to adapt to the climate impacts that it is now experiencing, and will continue to experience, in the coming decades.
Research from the Climate Futures for Tasmania project indicated that in addition to risks, climate change may also present new prospects. For example, small increases in average temperatures may allow new grape varieties to be grown for wine production in Tasmania, while some traditional varieties may no longer flourish. Successful regions, businesses and communities of the future will be those that make the most of opportunities associated with a changing climate and the adjustment to a low carbon future. For example, as Tasmania’s climate becomes milder, there will be real opportunities for the state in agricultural production and tourism.
Tasmania also has significant competitive advantages in renewable energy with its proven hydroelectric and wind resources and emerging solar, ocean and geothermal energy opportunities.
Tasmania’s economy and population are growing, and it will be a challenge to continue to decouple economic growth from emissions. Investing in emissions reduction activities and increasing its resilience to climate change impacts will mean short-term costs. These costs cannot be avoided altogether. Delaying action now not only increases the costs and complexity of future emissions reduction activities, but also raises the costs associated with adapting to the impacts of climate change that may have been avoided.
Even when considering the climate impacts that are now ‘locked in’ over the coming decades, action today can substantially reduce future costs. For example, the cost to the Tasmanian Government in responding to, and recovering from, the 2011 floods and January 2013 bushfires is estimated to be $60.7 million. Although extreme weather events cannot be solely attributed to climate change, national research indicates that a changing climate is likely to result in an increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The cost of recovering from these events is therefore also likely to increase. By investing in a coordinated and planned adaptation approach now, that targets high risk areas, the costs of responding to climate related disasters can be substantially reduced.
For more information visit ClimateChange.Tas.Gov.au or contact the Tasmanian Climate Change Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climate Smart Tasmania: A 2020 Climate Change Strategy has been endorsed by all of Tasmania’s government agencies, and represents over 12 months work with more than 200 stakeholders, and almost 100 written submissions. As well as establishing a 2020 policy target of 35% below 1990 levels, the Strategy contains over 80 actions that will reduce emissions, help the State to adapt to the impacts of climate change and facilitate integral strategic planning and research to transition the state into a low carbon economy.
Tasmania has invested $18 million to deliver energy efficiency upgrades to almost 10,000 low income households, community organizations, and small businesses since 2010. This represents the single biggest energy efficiency investment per capita of anywhere in Australia. Since 2009, all new public housing properties in Tasmania have been built to a 6 star standard, and the Tasmanian Government now develops all social housing developments under the “liveability principles” embedded in the Residential Development Strategy.
Tasmania’s vision is to have a reliable, affordable energy supply from a range of renewable sources that exceeds its needs, enabling the state to export surplus power to mainland Australia. Up to 90% of Tasmania’s energy is from renewable sources such as hydro and wind. Tasmania’s first hydroelectric scheme was built in the early 20th century and has grown so that the state owned energy business, Hydro Tasmania, now has assets worth $5 billion and employs 900 people.
Hydro generates 9,000 gigawatt hours of electricity every year, some of which is sold into the National Electricity Market via an undersea cable that crosses Bass Strait. Hydro has also invested in wind technology with the Woolnorth and Huxley wind farms already established and others in the planning stages. This includes the $2 billion TasWind proposal for a 200 turbine wind farm on King Island, in the Bass Strait. The clean electricity from this project is proposed to be sold directly into Victoria. The state’s sustainable energy network complements its pristine natural environment, and the knowledge of renewable energy systems that has been developed is exported internationally.
Tasmania aspires to transport networks with low greenhouse gas emissions that are also accessible, efficient, safe and affordable. The Climate Smart Tasmania strategy outlines a number of clean transport initiatives, including improving public transport networks, encouraging electric vehicle uptake, improved fuel efficiency for freight, and investigating light rail for Hobart’s northern suburbs, that modelling demonstrates would deliver emissions reductions of 790 kt CO2e by 2050.
Sustainable land use
Tasmania has approximately 2.2 million hectares of already protected forests on both public and private land that play an integral role in storing carbon. The Tasmanian Forest Carbon Study estimated that in 2010, these forests sequestered between 755-998 Mt CO2-e. There is the potential to capitalize on the carbon sequestered in Tasmania’s natural environment on international carbon markets. There is also research underway to reduce the emissions intensity and build the resilience of the state’s agriculture industry that involves the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture at UTAS, Forestry Tasmania, CSIRO, and natural resource management organizations.
The Tasmanian Government published The Tasmanian Waste and Resource Management Strategy in 2009. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is among the Waste Strategy’s key objectives. The Tasmanian Government will continue to support strategic actions such as methane capture from landfill, minimising organic waste going to landfill, increasing recycling to avoid emissions, and promoting energy efficient waste collection and transport systems.
In January 2013, the capital city of Tasmania, Hobart, hosted the delegation of IPCC scientists preparing the Working Group 1 report that was released in September of this year. Of those scientists, three Lead Authors--John Church, Nathan Bindoff, and Steven Rintoul--live and work in Tasmania. Many other Tasmanian scientists were contributors. This is emblematic of Tasmania’s international contribution to developing our understanding of climate science and climate change impacts. Tasmania is also a gateway to Antarctica making it a hub of international scientific connections and expertise.
The Sense-T project is another area of international significance. Sense-T is a state-wide sensor network that gathers real time data into a cloud of shared information that can be accessed by business, government and communities to improve resource management in industry and the natural environment, and assist Tasmania to adapt to climate change.
Climate Smart Tasmania commits to developing a state-wide strategic direction on land-use planning that details how climate change, both mitigation and adaptation, are to be considered in the land-use planning system. This will consider increasing multimodal transport options, compact development patterns and urban growth boundaries, energy efficient building siting, design and construction, adaptive infrastructure and sustainable capital investment and economic development.
In 2011-12, the Tasmanian Government reduced its own greenhouse gas emissions overall by almost 13% from the previous year.
Its largest agency (the Department of Health and Human Services) cut its car fleet emissions by more than 15% (more than 700,000 kilograms) in the two years to June 2013, and was the recipient of the 2013 Fleet Environment Award from the Australasian Fleet Management Association.
The Tasmanian Government has also committed that for its own operations, by 2020, there will be a 25% reduction in government building energy use, a 20% reduction in transport fuel use, that 75% if its buildings will exceed a 4.5 star National Australian Built Environment Rating System, and a 20% reduction in waste from the level audited in 2015. There are also a range of IT targets and initiatives now in place for the Tasmanian Government as a way to demonstrate leadership to the broader community.