As a member of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Australia is making active changes in all of its industries to transform the country into a more sustainable one.
The state participated in most international discussions regarding what changes should be made in the following years. The Agenda contains attainable goals that cover all dimensions – the private sector, the environmental and economic sectors, philanthropic organisations and even the Academia. The agenda contains seventeen different SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), a few of them being targeted at the environment. These are the ones discussed in this article, as the topic is a hot one at the moment.
Affordable & clean energy
One of the environment-related SDGs in the Agenda has to do with providing people access to affordable and sustainable energy. At the moment, Australia’s electricity system is changing, just as in many other parts of the world. Yet what distinguishes Australia’s efforts from other countries is how the actions are managed. Australia made a commitment to changing the energy sector a while back when signing the Paris Agreement.
This agreement requires a major shift from a polluting, unsustainable electricity sector to a reliable, affordable, secure energy supply that has certain emission limits. The agreement is meant to be respected long-term and is focused on aspects such as high security, low costs, reliability, and low emissions. Australia started to focus on the electricity sector since 2015 when a goal was set: the country’s energy productivity should be raised by 40% until 2030. This change will contribute to achieving the goal mentioned in the Agenda.
Currently, Australia invests resources in ARENA (The Australian Renewable Energy Agency), which is responsible for all the research, development, and deployment of sustainable practices in the electricity sector. A similar corporation is CEFC (The Clean Energy Finance Corporation) which is focused on developing innovative technologies for clean energy. Australia invests money into global clean energy projects via the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution and similar networks.
Australia is a highly-urbanised country, so the government must find ways to improve the quality of high-density living. There are four large cities in Australia that need to undergo serious changes, while smaller cities will be ensured a maximisation of advantages. Some common goals include easier access to green spaces, thus encouraging better productivity and health, both mental and physical.
All cities, regardless of their size, encounter problems such as traffic congestion, pollution, generating waste and more. Considering that Australia’s population is currently on the rise, these problems will only be accentuated if no measures are applied.
The approach that Australia is trying to adopt is a collaborative one to promote a long-term outcome. It is important to mention that Australia also helps the Philippines to recover after the dramatic consequences of the Typhoon Haiyan. More than 1,500 families rebuilt their houses with the help provided by the Australian government.
Australia already noticed an improvement in terms of how much resources are used per-person in terms of land, vehicles and even energy. Even so, the changes don’t seem to be enough to fix the country’s problems in terms of waste. The state plans to change the policies for both consumption and production to make. Many Australian businesses are willing to make the necessary changes to become more sustainable, in spite of the high costs that come with this change.
Luckily, companies like Mil-tek offer waste management solutions for businesses that are quite affordable. Moreover, after making this initial investment, companies can benefit from it in the long run: they will have a visibly reduced impact on the environment, they will save time with recycling and will ultimately save money. The country also focuses on reducing the quantity of food that is wasted.
The Australian campaign “Love Food, Hate Waste” has the purpose of raising awareness on how to avoid wasting food through social media platforms. Moreover, the campaign gives people the needed resources and a comprehensive toolkit to encourage them to control how much food waste they generate. The toolkit is an interactive one that provides solutions for reusing leftovers, planning menus, planning grocery lists, storing products and so on.
In terms of Climate action, Australia needs to reach 13 different targets. The first one refers to strengthening resilience and bringing attention to hazards or natural disasters, not only in Australia but in the rest of the world. Australia is planning to support any country that needs help during hard times caused by unfortunate natural events. Natural disasters seem to be triggered by certain aspects of climate change, thus helping Australia set this as the main target. Moreover, Australia wants to integrate measures that will change how national policies work, how strategies are built and how plans are applied.
This action is meant to put climate action in practice faster and reduce the time frames required for seeing actual results. In Australia, climate change is also discussed in schools or other study institution. Awareness raising became a priority for the country, thus including topics such as climate change, climate adaptation or impact waste reduction in education.
Australia currently invests millions of dollars in the Green Climate Fund, which is a joint fund used to implement climate action measures in all partner countries. The country considered another aspect very important for the success of its climate change campaigns: focusing on marginalised communities, youth, and local communities in terms of planning and managing climate change actions.
In order to strengthen the means of implementation for sustainable development, Australia closed numerous partnerships with different countries in the world. The most important partnership is the Cardno International Development one, that is supported by the UN SDSN and Columbia Center. Australia is also part of the MIKTA partnership, which gathers Indonesia, Mexico, the ROK, and Turkey together. The country developed a smart-city program in partnership with the members of ASEAN, that New Zeeland is part of as well.