Explainer: A guide to South Australia’s emissions targets and progress


South Australia's emissions profile is notably lower than many other states, with a significant portion of its electricity now sourced from renewable energy.

Emissions Trend Over the Last Decade

The state has seen a marked decrease in emissions over the past decade, largely due to the closure of coal-fired power stations and a substantial increase in wind and solar energy production.

Comparison with Other States and Territories

Relative to its size and population, South Australia has one of the lowest emissions footprints among Australian states, thanks in part to its early and aggressive shift towards renewables.

South Australia Emissions Reduction Targets

The state has set a target to reduce emissions by more than 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, with aspirations for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Alignment with National and International Goals

South Australia’s targets exceed national averages and are in line with ambitious international climate commitments, positioning the state as a leader in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Is South Australia on Track to Hit Its Targets?

Given its current trajectory and renewable energy milestones, South Australia is well-positioned to meet or even exceed its 2030 emissions reduction target.

Key Sectors Contributing to Emissions

While the energy sector has seen significant decarbonization, agriculture and transport remain notable contributors to the state’s emissions profile.

Characteristics of South Australia Impacting Emissions and Climate Policies

The state’s geography, abundant in solar and wind resources, along with a strong political consensus on climate action, has facilitated its green transition.

Key Policies to Achieve Emissions Reduction Targets

  • Renewable Energy: South Australia continues to invest in wind and solar energy, aiming for 100% renewable electricity generation.
  • Electric Vehicles: The state promotes EV adoption through incentives and the development of charging infrastructure, aiming to reduce transport emissions.

Challenges in Meeting Future Emissions Reduction Targets

Despite progress in the energy sector, transitioning the transport and agriculture sectors away from fossil fuels presents ongoing challenges, including technological and infrastructural barriers.

Opportunities for Meeting Future Emissions Reduction Targets

South Australia’s pioneering role in integrating renewable energy presents further opportunities for innovation in energy storage, green hydrogen, and exporting clean energy, reinforcing its low-carbon leadership.

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