Tens of thousands of job losses and cuts to GDP could be the risk of exports receiving tariffs due to climate inaction in Australia, a new report shows.
The Climate Council report argues a lack of federal government climate policy exposes the nation to potential border tariffs from nations with schemes to adjust for carbon taxes.
The report’s author, Nicki Hutley, said modelling showed Queensland and New South Wales would be worst impacted by tariffs.
“Queensland is projected to lose more than 50,000 jobs and $10 billion in Gross State Product (GSP); and NSW around 20,000 jobs and more than $5 billion in GSP,” Hutley said in a statement.
“The federal government should be getting out in front, and putting support for regions affected in place. The new, low-carbon economy is coming and we urgently need a transition plan in place for Australian communities and workers.”
The European Union announced a carbon border adjustment mechanism in July 2021 and the Climate Council believes more schemes will follow from countries re-levelling the economic playing field after taking climate action.
The federal government is in the process of negotiating its climate plan ahead of the Glasgow COP26 conference in the coming weeks and is preparing to put it before the Nationals on Sunday.
Key to the plan is a push for Australia to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. The Climate Council is pushing for a 75% cut by 2030 and net zero by 2035.
Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the party would review the plan closely for its implications for regional Australia.
“I imagine not everyone in the room will come to the same position. They will get a fair guide for what’s happening then,” Joyce told ABC.
“First we look through the eyes of the nation and we say ‘does this leave our nation in a stronger position or a weaker position, and the next question after that of course in the regional people … our job is to go in and fight for them.
“We have a different set of eyes on the issues because they are also energy-intensive electorates.”
Hutley said there were huge opportunities for investment in clean jobs and industries.
“We have the natural resources and the ingenuity to become a world leader in renewable energy,” she said.
She said clean manufacturing, minerals processing and renewable hydrogen could bring tens of thousands of jobs to states and regions.