Climate change is an important issue that presents challenges and opportunities for Tasmania. That is why we are focused on taking practical action to reduce the State’s emissions and respond to the impacts of a changing climate.
The benefits of taking action include achieving cost savings by using resources more efficiently, building on our competitive strengths in areas such as renewable energy, and stimulating innovation, growth, and investment.
Tasmania is continuing to lead Australia’s transition to a low-emissions economy, demonstrated by our commitment to generate 200 per cent of our energy needs from renewable energy by 2040, and fast tracking a renewable hydrogen industry in Tasmania.
However, the impact of climate-related extreme events also presents a major risk for Tasmania. Assisting our businesses, communities and government to prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events is a priority. The comparatively modest impacts of climate change forecast for Tasmania offer a number of opportunities for growth. Learn more in the links below.
What has happened in the last 5 years?
In the last five years in Tasmania has seen some extreme climate and weather activity, including two significant bushfire events, a record marine heatwave off the East Coast, prolonged drought creating energy security concerns and the introduction of staged water restrictions, and the worst statewide flooding seen in 40 years.
Scientific data and observations continue to support the scientific consensus that changes to the climate are occurring as a result of a warming planet.
There have also been national and international developments in response to climate change, with implications for governance of business, industry and government.
Technology and innovation also present new opportunities as the world transitions to a low carbon economy.
In August 2021, the Premier announced the formation of Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania (ReCFIT).
ReCFIT provides strategic whole-of-government advice that ensures investment in renewables, along with climate change adaptation and mitigation, will help shape Tasmania’s future.
Some of the plans and strategies relevant to climate change, include:
- Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan and Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target
- The Action Plan outlines how the Tasmanian Government will utilise renewable energy to benefit all Tasmanians through job creation, helping the environment and driving investment through economic growth.
- New renewable energy target of 200 per cent of our current electricity needs by 2040 that, together with additional transmission interconnection, can lead to lower emissions and improved reliability for the National Electricity Market.
- Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan
- Action Plan to outline the Tasmanian Government’s plan to ensure Tasmania is perfectly placed to benefit from the emerging global hydrogen industry.
- The centrepiece of the Action Plan is the Tasmanian Government’s $50 million Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding Program, which may support the development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies to reduce transport emissions.
- Agrivision 2050 and White Paper: Growing Tasmanian Agriculture Research, Development and Extension for 2050
- Highlights the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to the projected impacts of climate change. It states that a key focus area for the Government will be to continue to support agricultural producers to reduce emissions; adapt to, and be prepared for, the impacts of climate change; and leverage opportunities for growth.
State of the Climate 2020 Report
The State of the Climate 2020 report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Bureau of Meteorology shows Australia is experiencing climate change now. Significant climatic changes in Australia are projected over the coming decades, including changes in extreme heat events, rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and extreme fire weather.
The report found Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 ºC since national records began in 1910. It also found that despite the slow-down in global fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide from early 2020, which is largely due to travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be negligible impact in terms of slowing climate change.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
On 9 August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Sixth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. The report provides the most up-to-date global assessment of the physical science associated with observed changes to the climate over the last 170 years and projections of future climate change. The report finds that all regions, including Australia, will continue to experience increases in climate change impacts, and the frequency and intensity of these impacts increases with each increment of additional warming.
In late 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Key findings:
- human activities have caused approximately 1.0 ºC of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
- limiting warming to 1.5ºC requires major and immediate transformation; and
- emissions will need to reach net zero by around 2050.
Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures
There are increasing expectations from the community, and regulators and investors, that company directors (both public and private) publicly identify, report and manage relevant climate change risks.
Since the establishment of the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures in 2015, there is growing evidence of climate-related financial and liability risk for government and business. This is being driven by key financial regulators, legal opinion and credit rating agencies.
As governments work to respond and recover to the COVID-19 pandemic there is an opportunity for climate change to be included in economic and social considerations.
This includes opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects, sustainable and green infrastructure, low emissions transport options, energy efficiency, and a focus on circular economy models. There is an opportunity for long-term economic stimulus packages that promote future growth and development, to incorporate low emissions objectives and consideration of climate change.