Climate Council verdict on Labor Party climate policy: Better than Liberal Party but “falls short”

Our Mission
By Nicki Huntley, Economist and Climate Councillor

The Australian Labor Party has just announced its new climate policy package, which includes an emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030 (below 2005 levels).

Here’s what you need to know
✅ Labor’s ‘Powering Australia’ plan (1) will create more than 600,000 jobs and new economic opportunities for Australians – with 5 out of 6 of these in regional areas.

The policies and modelling in the plan are credible, and comprehensive. If Labor is elected and this plan is implemented, it will lead to significant jobs and investment growth, lower power bills and reduce our emissions.

⚠️ The plan is better than the Morrison Government’s do-nothing approach, but in the race towards zero emissions, we need to urgently ramp up action. Labor should get on with reaching 43% as quickly as possible, and strengthen its 2030 emissions reduction target significantly to tackle climate change.

⚠️ The ‘Powering Australia’ plan doesn’t deal with rising emissions from the fossil fuel sector, and must do more to address pollution from new and existing coal and gas infrastructure.

❌ This target falls short of what the science says is necessary to limit global warming and avoid catastrophic climate change.

This is a step in the right direction, but one step on a very long journey. With a federal election around the corner, there’s going to be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing over coming months on what credible climate policies mean for everyday Australians.
I’m an economist, and I’ve spent years modelling the costs of climate change, and climate inaction. I know that urgently cutting emissions this decade will create jobs and safeguard our economy into the future (2).

So today, I’ve been out in the media to make sure everyday Australians understand that it’s time to move beyond fossil fuels,and create long-term, secure jobs for Aussies in our new, clean economy.

We need you to amplify this message, and get it out there in your own words. Letters to the editor can influence conversations about climate in communities all over Australia.

Rich in sunshine, wind and renewable technologies, alongside a skilled workforce, Australia is perfectly positioned to benefit from the global race towards net zero. Labor’s plan will cut emissions and create jobs and economic opportunities.

But the best science tells us that Australia needs to reduce climate pollution by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030 (3), and reach net zero emissions by 2035. And business leaders, state and territory governments and international allies are all calling for stronger action.

Building a vibrant, safer, zero emissions future for Australia requires strong leadership and ambitious climate policy. No matter the target, this isn’t a ‘set and forget’ situation. We need to keep stepping up our ambition.

States and territories are showing us how it’s done: Tasmania has already achieved net zero emissions (4), South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria are all aiming to halve their emissions by the end of this decade (5), and the ACT is leading by examplereaching milestones and setting new ones on the way to achieving net zero emissions by 2045 (6).

It’s time for Australia’s federal politicians to deliver on what we, the Australian public, want.



Nicki Hutley
Climate Councillor

You and I need to speak up – to support ambitious action when we see it, and call for Australia to do much, much more. Take 5 minutes to write a letter to the editor this weekend, and show your support for stronger action this decade.


  1. Powering Australia, Australian Labor Party, December 2021
  2. Markets are moving: the economic costs of Australia’s climate inaction, Climate Council, October 2021
  3. Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet This Decade | Climate Council Report, April 2021
  4. Tasmania’s reached net-zero emissions and 100% renewables – but climate action doesn’t stop there, The Conversation, June 2021
  5. States put Australia on track to beat 2030 emissions pledge but Morrison may not make it official, The Guardian, October 2021
  6. ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, ACT Government, 2019
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