16 March 2010 – Six key sectors of the Australian economy have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 levels for the cost to householders of a cup of coffee, according to a new report released today. The Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia received a mixed response. The Greens thought it should have been braver and the Energy Efficiency Council said it proved that energy savings had a direct economic benefit.

Produced by ClimateWorks Australia, a partnership between The Myer Foundation and Monash University, the report shows that power, forestry, buildings, agriculture and transport could save 249 millioin tonnes of carbon dioxide through a combination of a carbon price and targeted actions, for not much more than the the cost of a cup of coffee or a total of about $185 a year for each household.

The report uses data from the The report uses data from the McKinsey & Company greenhouse gas abatement cost curve methodology and takes account of recent changes in technology  and policy, ClimateWorks executive director Anna Skarbek said.

Ms Skarbek said that under the Plan, Australia could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent below 2000 levels or 249 million tonnes of carbon dioxide  equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2020 but it requires a combination of carbon price and targeted actions.

“We have developed a low?carbon growth plan for Australia, which was a commitment made by all national leaders at the Major Economies Forum in July 2009,” she said.

“The Plan clearly sets out actions government, business and individuals can take to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost.”

Opportunities highlighted in the report include

Buildings
Reducing oversized and unnecessary equipment, decreasing energy losses from open
refrigeration and insufficiently insulated ovens, improving the energy efficiency of all
appliances and equipment, replacing electric water heaters with gas and solar
powered water heaters

Transport
Improving the fuel efficiency of petrol or diesel fuelled cars and trucks, for example
decreasing the accelerating and rolling resistance and weight of the vehicles

Agriculture
Soil carbon sequestration such as increasing the prevalence of deep rooted perennial
grass species, optimising grazing intensity and timing, and reducing salinity and
erosion through revegetation, and reducing livestock emissions through using higher
quality feed and anti methanogenic vaccines

Forestry
Reforestation, including commercial timber forestry and on-farm reforestation such as
planting 1–2 per cent of productive farmland with trees in the form of windbreaks or
plantings along waterways and as tree islands to shade livestock, reducing first time
deforestation and reducing clearing of regrowth

Industry
Energy efficiency through improved control systems and processes, reduction of
duplicated or oversized equipment, upgrade of motor systems, decrease of energy
losses in boilers and steam distribution systems, and waste heat recovery

Power
Onshore wind, coal to gas shift, solar thermal with storage, improved coal and gas
power plant thermal efficiencies and reduced transmission and distribution losses

The full report will available for download on 19 March from
ClimateWorks Australia’s website