Estimating the implications of net-zero targets
With the recent publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report providing more evidence of the need for urgent action to address climate change, Australian companies are increasingly expressing an ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The quantum of emissions reductions required is significant and there are often limited options for companies to achieve their targets through changes to their own operating processes in the short term. Therefore, many companies are considering the use of carbon offsets to reduce their overall net contribution to climate change.
This study investigated the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of the 50 highest valued companies traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX50) to understand the quantity of emissions which would need to be mitigated or offset annually to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The reported emissions of these companies were used to determine the area of timber plantations or environmental plantings required to produce an equivalent volume of carbon abatement each year. From this, a measure of the carbon abatement efficiency (i.e. ha / tonne CO2-e abated) was estimated for both timber plantations and environmental plantings.