South Australia’s Climate Change Challenge and Opportunity

Tackling climate change is a win-win for our economy and environment, and the South Australian government is working closely with leading experts to accelerate action on climate change, create innovative new jobs, and grow our economy.

On 17 September 2020, the South Australian government released the ‘South Australia’s Climate Change Challenges and Opportunities’ report from Australia’s most respected climate economist, Professor Ross Garnaut.

As South Australia recovers from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be real opportunities for new industries in the climate-smart, green economy and the South Australian government wants to give businesses the confidence to invest and create new jobs.

The report singles out our state as an international leader in the clean energy transition and highlights several economic opportunities for the state.

It makes clear that we are leading in the transition to clean energy and shows how the state can capitalise on its significant head-start.

View a short video filmed at the report’s launch event which includes an interview with Professor Garnaut. 

It also says that South Australia is better equipped to respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change than any other Australian state and nearly all of the world’s sub-national jurisdictions.

Furthermore, it states that the international economy is ready to deepen trade and investment with states that embrace the low-emissions transition, and regional South Australia would be the biggest beneficiary of embracing new zero emissions opportunities.

At the start of 2020, the South Australian government set the ambitious target of at least 50 per cent reduction in net emissions by 2030.

Professor Garnaut identifies several opportunities for South Australia including:

  • increased renewable energy generation, use and export
  • expanding low emissions manufacturing and mining, including green steel and the processing of SA raw materials into low emissions products
  • production of renewable hydrogen, and ammonia
  • electrification of transport
  • storing carbon in the land and sea, and generating carbon credits
  • production of algae to reduce livestock emissions
  • converting organic waste and other biomass to energy, bioplastics and other industrial uses
  • adapting agriculture, buildings and infrastructure, and water management; and providing high quality, accessible information.

Professor Garnaut’s advice informed the South Australian Climate Change Action Plan 2021–2025 which was released in December 2020.  The Action Plan sets out practical actions to help build a strong, climate smart economy, further reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, and support South Australia to adapt to a changing climate.

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