Energy Australia, India and South Africa Fall Short in new report on Energy Policy

Editor: Dominik Stephan

A new report reveals that major countries, including Australia, India and South Africa, will struggle to achieve the emissions targets agreed at the COP21 climate change talks in Paris.

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(Picture: Darren Kirby / BY-SA 2.0)

Commissioned by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (Icheme) Energy Centre, the study concludes that significant changes in national energy policies, such as Australia’s repeal of its carbon tax in 2014, will have a negative effect on progress towards lower CO2 emissions.

The report, Transitions in Electricity Systems Towards 2030, reinforces the widely-held view that a strong focus on the power generation sector is needed in order to secure progress. Power generation accounts for 30-40% of the CO2 emissions in the countries examined in the report. In order to achieve the emissions targets agreed at COP21 in December 2015, alternative power generation technologies must be deployed urgently.

The report examines the electricity generation systems in seven countries – Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and the UK. These countries have a substantial community of chemical engineers, and are all significant emitters of greenhouse gases. The report describes a scoring methodology based on ‘condensed principles of rational energy policy.’ Each country’s performance is assessed based on existing low-carbon generation capacity and current policy trends.’

The UK ranks top with a score of +2; indicating positive moves in evidence-based policy, a focus on negative emissions, and continuing deployment of renewable energy sources. India scored a -4 with South Africa on -3, but Australia scored lowest at -5 as a result of weak targets and policy reversal, driven by cost reduction rather than environmental goals.

Transitions in Electricity Systems Towards 2030 was launched in London, UK on Monday 6 June at a meeting hosted by Icheme’s Energy Centre Chair and Dean of the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel University, Professor Stef Simons. The report was presented by its co-author Renée van Diemen from Imperial College London followed by a discussion with a panel of experts, an invited audience and online participants.

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