Skip to main content

The international, national and state policy context

Future Energy Strategy

The international, national and state policy context

Australia has committed to reduce its GHG emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020, and to between 26 and 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, in line with the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement. This intends to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursue limiting the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement, agreed to by 195 countries, has an objective of achieving net zero emissions3 globally by 2050. The agreement includes a review of emission reduction targets every five years from 2020.

The Australian Government has implemented a number of market-based schemes and initiatives, such as the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), Emissions Reduction Fund, Renewable Energy Target, ClimateActive, National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support action on climate change and drive investments in energy efficiency and emission reduction activities4.

In 2016, the NSW Government announced its aspirational target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which was outlined in the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework5. The framework aims to maximise the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of NSW in the context of a changing climate, and current and emerging international and national policy settings and actions to address climate change.

The NSW Government is making efforts to reduce GHG emissions, increase climate change resilience, maximise renewable energy use and improve energy productivity and efficiency through policies and initiatives, such as the NSW Climate Change Fund, NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan and other clean energy initiatives, NSW Government Resource Efficiency Policy, NSW Energy Savings Scheme and the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan.

In March 2020, the NSW Government released the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030, which sets out how the NSW Government will achieve net zero emissions by 2050 by creating jobs, cutting household costs and attracting investment. The Plan focuses on the next decade as rapid changes in technology present both challenges and opportunities in identifying the least cost path to net zero. A bilateral memorandum of understanding between the NSW and Commonwealth governments provides support for the Net Zero Plan.

Future Transport 2056 sets the 40-year vision, directions and outcome framework for customer mobility in NSW. Future Transport 2056 outlines six state-wide customer outcomes to guide investment, policy, reform and service provision. These provide a framework for planning and investment to harness rapid change and innovation to support a modern, innovative transport network. One of Future Transport 2056’s outcomes is for a transport system that is economically and environmentally sustainable, affordable for customers and supports emission reductions.

3Net zero carbon emissions means no emissions occur at all or any emissions that do occur must be captured and stored or offset.

4See list of Australian Government initiatives here:

5The NSW Climate Change Policy Framework does not have any targets for the reduction of GHG emissions in individual sectors of the economy.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

Read more