The Australian Government has joined with more than 10 global partners, including the United States, to establish the world’s first Net Zero Government Initiative at COP27.
The initiative commits governments around the world to lead by example and achieve net zero emissions across their operations.
Australia’s commitment was announced by Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, and Minister for the Public Service, Katy Gallagher. The ministers said Australia’s role in the Net Zero Government Initiative sends a strong message both at home and abroad that climate action is everyone’s business and starts with government.
‘We believe that the Australian Public Service can set the benchmark on emission reductions and inspire other major workplaces to follow suit,’ Minister Gallagher said.
‘Reducing public sector emissions is not only a strong signal of how serious the government is about reducing emissions more broadly in Australia, but will also over time save taxpayers money, and of course, have a positive impact on the environment,’ she said.
Minister Bowen said, ‘The government has increased and legislated its emissions reduction targets of 43% by 2030 and net zero by 2050, and we have set an even higher bar for the Australian Public Service.’
The Australian Government will invest $7.1 million over 2 years to kick-start the transition of the APS to net zero through measures that include:
- mandating improved energy efficiency of government property
- increasing renewable energy supply
- government spending power to take action on climate change and support energy projects through the Buy Australian Plan
- re-instating public reporting of government emissions to transparently track progress to the target.
A further $15.9 million has been committed over 4 years towards a 75% low emissions vehicle target for the Commonwealth Fleet by 2025, for new passenger vehicle purchases and leases.
Defence and security agencies are excluded from the commitment on operational grounds.