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The ACT has surpassed an emissions reduction milestone of 40 per cent on 1990 levels, instead reaching a 45 per cent reduction – a nation-leading achievement.

ACT Minister for Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said the major achievement demonstrated the ACT’s leadership on climate change and shows what can be achieved with an ongoing and dedicated commitment to climate change action.

The achievement is outlined in the 2019-20 Minister’s Annual Report under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction ACT 2010, which Mr Rattenbury tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 3 December 2020.

The ambitious target stemmed from the 2008 Parliamentary Agreement between the ACT Greens and ACT Labor, which committed the Government to legislating a greenhouse gas reduction target based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, set in 2007.

The ACT Government’s climate change actions and targets evolved and were reinforced through successive Parliamentary Agreements between the two parties.

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said that the State Government’s achievements were a result of the innovative approach the ACT has taken to reduce emissions.

“Over the past decade, the ACT has demonstrated national leadership in preparing our community for climate change,” Mr Barr said.

“We were the first Australian jurisdiction to shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity, which was the most significant factor in meeting the 40 per cent reduction target.

“The ACT Government has an ambitious agenda to continue taking action on climate change by reducing emissions from the ACT’s public transport and waste sectors as we work towards our zero net emissions target.”

Mr Rattenbury said the ACT had reached a fantastic milestone in the climate change challenge, and now planned to turn its focus to the challenging sectors of transport and fossil fuel gas.

“While we should all be proud of these achievements, we are still faced with confronting reminders that climate change is here and its impacts are growing,” Mr Rattenbury said. 

“Having declared a climate emergency we need to get on with the job of cutting emissions and making our community, buildings and infrastructure more resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

“Emissions from transport and fossil fuel gas are the next big challenge for the ACT.”

The report outlines significant achievements in tackling climate change during the last year. 

Key achievements include:

  • Meeting the 100 per cent renewable electricity target
  • Reducing emissions by 45 per cent from 1990 levels
  • Committing to an all-electric Canberra Hospital expansion
  • Releasing the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 and Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan
  • Removing the requirement for gas connection in new suburbs
  • Upgrading energy efficiency of public housing and continuing the Solar for Low Income Program

The report offers a snapshot of the ACT’s emissions profile in 2019-20.

Transport emissions decreased by eleven per cent during 2019-20 in contrast to the around two per cent annual growth observed in previous years. This decrease is most likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown in early 2020 that reduced travel.

Transport continues to be the single largest source of emissions in the ACT, accounting for 57 per cent of the total emissions in 2019-20. Fossil fuel gas accounted for 21 per cent of total emissions – a 1.3 per cent decrease from the previous year.

Further detail will be published in the ACT Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2019-20.

The 2019-20 Minister’s Annual Report under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction ACT 2010 is available upon request from the ACT Government.

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