Australia could cut emissions by 50% by switching to clean energy

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A switch to clean energy technologies such as wind power and energy efficiency measures could see Australia's carbon dioxide emissions cut by 50% by 2040 without affecting economic growth, says a study by the Clean Energy Future Group. There are sufficient resources of clean energy to make up the bulk of energy supply, the report notes. The study was commissioned by an alliance of industry associations, including the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), energy organisations and the Australian World Wildlife Fund. "Australia already has the renewable and gas resource base and the technologies to reliably and cleanly supply the bulk of Australia's energy needs for the future," says BCSE's Ric Brazzale. In 2002, Australia's greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 1.3% above 1990 levels, according to the Australian Greenhouse Office. Environment minister David Kemp and industry minister Ian Macfarlane note this means "Australia is still on track to meet its Kyoto target" to limit emissions to 108% of 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. They point out that Australia has uncoupled emissions from economic growth, with emissions per unit of gross domestic product declining by 31% between 1990 and 2002. Net CO2 emissions, which account for around 70% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions, had fallen by 1.9% between 1990 and 2002.

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