The time for a net-zero commitment is now

09 Nov 2020

Green Building Council Australia (GBCA) pledges its support for the Climate Change (Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020 introduced in the Australian Parliament today by Independent Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall MP.

“Now is the time for Australia to make a national commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050,” said GBCA CEO Ms Davina Rooney.

“Legislating a path to the level of emissions reduction that science tells us we need, in the timeframe we need it would build on the growing consensus and commitment by businesses, state and local governments, as well as our international allies.

“The escalating risks and adverse impacts from our changing climate are unsustainable and so severe as to warrant a legislative response of this nature.

“The proposed legislation aligns with what the GBCA, and indeed green building councils around the world, have been calling for as part of the global Advancing Net Zero initiative.

“That the Federal Government should establish a comprehensive national plan, in conjunction with state and territory governments towards net zero emissions buildings was a central recommendation in our Every Building Counts joint report with the Property Council of Australia that Minister Taylor launched in late 2019. 

“We amassed the research to demonstrate why such a plan should encompass a range of measures that accelerate decarbonisation in the built environment and include interim science based targets aligned with Australia’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

“Enshrining a commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 in law is the clear, coordinated and steadfast action Australia requires for achieving transformational, economy-wide decarbonisation.

“Our approach has been to constructively put forward evidence-based policies that simultaneously account for the need to reduce emissions while also protecting jobs and household finances more broadly. 

“We would like to see a unified and practical plan agreed by the Australian Parliament to best secure and protect our collective future and that of generations to come.”

Ms Rooney said the Climate Change Bill puts forward balanced measures that also acknowledge the need for continued flexibility.

“This Bill complements the Australian Government’s work to date on the Technology Investment Roadmap.

“The proposed risk assessments and adaptation plans are a valuable and necessary element, as evidenced in the recent final report findings of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.”

Businesses are stepping up to drive the net-zero transformation with customers and investors all demanding the immediate and longer term benefits greater sustainability inherently delivers.

“We are working hard to lead the transformation of our built environment by promoting an earlier transition to net-zero carbon through a wholesale overhaul of our Green Star rating system.

“Our new Green Star Buildings tool, launched last month, requires a building to be fully electric, fossil fuel-free and 100% powered by renewables in order to achieve the highest possible 6 Star rating.

“We welcome similar net-zero efforts being made by other sectors, whose commitment is evidenced in their support for this proposed legislation.”