While our politicians may have fought and scratched about it every step of the way, the fact remains that Australia has a bipartisan commitment to meeting our Paris emissions targets. That means decarbonising our economy by around the middle of the century.
Meeting this mighty task will be a challenge for every sector and needs supportive government policies if we are to achieve this outcome.
This is a very important topic for the property industry. The built environment – all of Australia’s existing commercial, residential and public buildings and new construction – represents about a quarter of Australia’s carbon emissions.
On one hand, the theory will tell you that this is where many of the least-cost abatement opportunities are to be found. On the other hand, the sheer complexity of issues involved, the split incentives that exist, and the fact that this encompasses everybody from people in the most sophisticated property companies to the most disengaged home owner means that the task is not so simple.
What is needed is a clear policy blueprint for governments to help support the industry, building occupants and home owners to make the transition.
Yesterday the Property Council and the Green Building Council launched just such a blueprint. The report, Every Building Counts: A Practical Plan for Emissions Reduction in the Built Environment, is a blueprint for action for all three levels of government. Its 75 recommendations are practical and achievable with a strong focus on energy efficiency.
We were delighted that federal minister for energy and emissions reduction, Angus Taylor, was able to launch our report yesterday. Minister Taylor noted how important it was to support transition in the built environment, the opportunities presented by energy efficiency and said it would be crucial for governments to work in partnership with industry to make change.
Every Building Counts will now form the basis of industry’s advocacy to all levels of governments for sensible policy to support this transition.