Beyond Zero Emissions

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Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an Australian-based, not-for-profit climate change solutions think-tank. The group coordinates research and education into the need to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to 'zero and below' by implementing structural changes to stationary energy, transport, buildings, land use, industrial processes and replacing fossil fuel export revenue.

BZE released the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan in July 2010, a research collaboration between Beyond Zero Emissions and the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute. The aim of the report is to provide a detailed, fully realisable, fully costed 10 year plan to replace all stationary energy needs with 100% renewable energy sources, using only current proven technologies and engineering. This addresses the common perception that renewables cannot replace fossil fuels, either due to immaturity of the technology or due to cost concerns. The group invites pro-bono contributions from engineers, scientists, and industry specialists to work on their projects similar to the way open source software is developed.

In August 2012, Beyond Zero Emissions published and launched a new report called "Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity."

In August 2013, Beyond Zero Emissions launched the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, outlining how energy use in Australia's buildings can be halved in 10 years.

Principles[edit]

Beyond Zero Emissions subscribes to the view that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are at a dangerous level and growing and that even when the goal of a zero emissions global economy has been achieved, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide will still need to be reduced to a safe threshold. They state that given 350 ppm was the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at which the disintegration of the Arctic sea-ice began and a level somewhere between 280 ppm (pre-industrial level) and 325 ppm is considered to be a safe threshold, reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to this threshold is desirable and necessary. They believe that this will be achieved using methods such as large-scale implementation of concentrated solar power plants.

The group advocates reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to 'zero and below' by implementing structural changes to stationary energy, transport, agriculture, logging, housing and construction and by implementing energy efficiency measures.

Zero Carbon Australia[edit]

Zero Carbon Australia is a project to develop a blueprint for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy within a decade. The project will consist of six research plans, with each plan using existing technology to find a solution for different sectors of the Australian economy. The proposed plans are Stationary Energy, Transport, Buildings, Industrial Processes, Land Use, and Renewable Energy Superpower.

The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan is Beyond Zero Emissions' plan to decarbonise Australia in 10 years,[1] with the goal of achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions from electricity (stationary energy sector) and transport. This report won the 2010 Mercedes-Benz Banksia award for Australian Environmental research.[2]

The Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan outlines a pathway to zero emission buildings in Australia. The plan details how this can be achieved through a planned energy efficiency retrofit of existing building stock, onsite renewable energy generation, and electrifying current gas appliances. The plan does not aim to make individual buildings energy self-sufficient (i.e. zero net energy consumption), as each building is planned to be connected to a 100% renewable energy grid as outlined in the ZCA Stationary Energy Plan. However, it identifies the maximum feasible contribution from distributed onsite electricity generation using widespread rooftop solar photovoltaic panels plus small wind turbines.

Activities[edit]

The group gives presentations, runs a discussion group and has two weekly radio shows on 3CR interviewing celebrity guests on climate science and global warming solutions. Interviewees have included: James Hansen, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Wieslaw Maslowski, Ken Caldeira, David Karoly, David Mills, Richard Heinberg, Arnold Goldman, S. David Freeman, Bill McKibben and Tim Flannery.[3]

In May 2012, Beyond Zero Emissions started campaigning for a concentrated solar thermal power plant in Southern Australia. The opportunity was identified due to the likely closure of coal plants Playford B and Northern in Port Augusta. These power plants produce 30% of South Australia’s energy and employ around 400 people.

The Rudd Government received submissions from Beyond Zero Emissions as a part of the consultation process for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme - Green Paper,[4] and also for Australia 2020.[5]

Beyond Zero Emissions takes part in the yearly Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. They have promoted the construction of a high-speed rail link between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, which could be powered by renewable energy sources and complete journeys in roughly the same time as domestic flights.[6]

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