The natural environment is central to the quality of life enjoyed by Australians and to the state of the economy. It provides natural resources that are direct inputs into Australia’s productive capacity and supports activity in a range of sectors. Over the next 40 years, Australia will continue to respond and adapt to environmental challenges that will affect the economy and the budget.
Climate change presents a significant challenge to the natural environment. Rising global temperatures and other changes to the climate will impact locations, sectors and communities in diverse ways driving both structural adjustments and corresponding innovation. Connecting innovation and investment in climate-resilient development can significantly increase the adaptive capacity of our regions, towns and cities. Such solutions will require effective action by governments, businesses and communities, to keep the economy strong now and into the future.
Mitigation efforts will require a step-change in innovation and global collaboration to make new energy technologies commercial and scalable. Australia is working with our trading and strategic partners to make low and zero emissions technologies globally scalable and commercially viable.
Australia has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to global emissions reduction efforts, reducing emissions faster than many similar advanced economies, as well as the OECD and G20 averages. Australia is at the forefront of adopting low emissions technologies, with the highest level of solar photovoltaic capacity per person of any country in the world, and more solar and wind generation capacity per person than any country outside Europe.
Effectively managing the broader pressures on the environment – including on oceans, waste and water management – and biodiversity, will also improve economic prospects and our quality of life.