12 Jun 2020
These last weeks have seen major announcements supporting the further development of the Federal Government’s climate policy with the release of the King Review (report of the Expert Panel examining additional sources of low cost abatement) and the Government’s response. This was followed the very next day by the Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper.
Responses to the Discussion Paper due later this month will inform a Ministerial Reference Panel, led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel in the development of the Roadmap, and in parallel the first Low Emissions Technology Statement that will be published later this year. The broader Roadmap will be a cornerstone of Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Strategy, to be released ahead of COP26 next year.
The King Review recommendations were welcome in supporting a clear role for the built environment in emissions reduction. The Review acknowledged the widely understood limitations in the current structure of the Emissions Reduction Fund as it is unable to incentivise the full potential for more substantive emissions reductions across the property sector.
Key recommendations from King for the built environment focus on: the important role of energy efficiency through training; developing an energy performance rating scheme for residential markets and introducing mandatory disclosure in those markets. These recommendations reflect the success of the National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme (NABERS) and the Commercial Buildings Disclosure (CBD) program which they also recommended for expansion to a broader range of commercial building types (e.g. hotels).
King’s recommendations are significant, and these recommendations were ‘noted’ in the Government’s response—progress towards their realisation is underway through work being advanced under the auspices of the COAG Energy Council and their trajectory for low energy buildings. GBCA is proud to be supporting this work alongside the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
With the King Review delivered, the Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper provides the basis for a fresh discussion on the potential for our buildings to support emissions reduction. With a broad focus across a raft of technologies available to ‘grow jobs and the economy and lower emissions’, the report explicitly focuses on technologies across both commercial and residential buildings.
Alongside understanding the relative abatement potential of those technologies identified, for GBCA it will be critical that the final Roadmap also supports a policy and regulatory environment that maximises those opportunities we know already exist to deploy existing technologies that are proven both for emissions reduction and commercially. These opportunities are well established, some as referenced through the King Review, and will absolutely achieve that magic trio of jobs, productivity and abatement.
In our response to the discussion paper we will advocate for a clearer focus on demand-side drivers for energy, energy efficiency, data, disclosure, minimum standards and scaling best practice across new sectors. The urgency of action now required to reduce our emissions demands that this roadmap realises the immediate potential both of new and existing technologies through clear recommendations that support an enabling policy and regulatory environment. Stay tuned for our submission in the coming weeks.