The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed the Abbott Government’s announcement of the 2030 emissions target but also calls for stronger targets to tackle climate change.

GBCA Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew says the Abbott Government’s commitment to post-2020 emissions cuts is just a starting point. The Abbott Government recently announced its 2030 emissions target of 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels.

GBCA says Australia will need more ambitious targets to meet its obligations and seize the opportunities of a low-carbon economy. The announced target wasn’t enough to ensure warming remained below the 2 degrees necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The Climate Change Authority recommends a 2025 target of 30 per cent below 2000 levels, with a further 40-60 per cent reduction by 2030. These recommendations align with those announced by other developed nations.

According to Madew, Australia, as the highest per capita emitter of all developed nations, has an obligation as well as an opportunity to set and achieve strong targets. She observed that Australia’s property industry, which was ahead of the mining and agriculture industries in terms of GDP contribution, offered the greatest emissions-reduction opportunities and at the least cost.

ClimateWorks Australia has demonstrated that the energy intensity of buildings can be halved by 2050, and that Australia can achieve net zero emissions by using technologies and processes that exist today.

Madew explains that strong targets would send a signal to investors and developers about Australians’ commitment to innovative, low-carbon solutions. Ambitious targets would additionally prevent Australia from falling behind other countries in terms of international competitiveness and ability to attract investment.

GBCA, therefore, calls on the Abbott Government to engage with industry to better understand the opportunities for emissions reductions and to work with the organisation to develop policies and programs that help them meet and exceed new targets, and build a sustainable, productive and prosperous future for all Australians.