Australia needs to stop burning coal by 2030 if it wants to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, a new report warns.
Climate Analytics says the government needed a national plan to phase out remaining coal-fired plants, and needed to take them offline faster than it already was.
Such a plan would help provide the energy sector with certainty, the report released on Thursday says.
Chief executive Andrew Hare pointed to the current bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland as a sign the country needed to curb emissions rapidly.
“The realisation that climate change poses an existential threat to Australia is certainly hitting home right now,” Mr Hare said.
“Australia must play its part in fighting climate change, and it could start by switching from coal to renewables in its own electricity system.”
The report, using data from the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says phasing coal out completely by 2030 would allow Australia to do its bit.
It warns just half a degree more warning above 1.5C would see the death of nearly all of Australia’s coral reefs.
It says at the slow rate coal fired plants were being shut down across the country, Australia would still emit twice more than what it was allowed to under the Paris Agreement.
The report said 10 plants had closed since 2012 with the 19 remaining plants feeding Australia 60 per cent of its electricity.
This made it the only OECD country in the G20 that relied on coal fire more than half of its energy supply.
In a decade half of these plants, which the report says were already technically obsolete, would be 40 to 60 years old.
The report says Australia had natural advantage when it came to renewable energy resources and should jump on this to move to a carbon free energy system.
It warns Australia faced longer bushfire seasons, less rain and more drought due to climate change.