50/50 Background and Resources

The Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) is running a campaign across the country to make sure we can be proud of Labor’s leadership on climate change. Everything you need to know about the campaign is in the Campaign Pack here. 

The last Federal Labor Government designed and delivered climate policy that was cutting edge and set the country on the path to a low carbon future.

LEAN believes that climate action can create jobs, investment and innovation and be an electoral positive. But it will require leadership and support from the grassroots of the party!

We have a rolling series of key events before us – National Conference in July 2015, the international climate meeting in Paris in December 2015 and the Federal election in 2016.

We are calling on the party to adopt policy that delivers four key things:

1. Labor leading the nation on climate action

2. Energy policy that transforms the energy sector and that delivers 50% of our electricity from renewable energy by 2030. There should be one department lead by a senior minister for Climate Change and Energy.

3. Strong industry policy to ensure the transition to a low carbon economy delivers jobs, investment and innovation.

4. 50% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030, or a target based in the latest Climate Change Authority recommendations. 


Climate Change is not going away.

US President Barack Obama has described Climate Change as the “one issue that will define the contours of this century more than any other”.

The changing climate, and the changing international economy in reaction to it, will alter our future forever.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that the Labor Party stands up for climate action and the future.

The Labor Party is the only party that can deliver the necessary courage to protect Australia from dangerous climate change, and ensure the Australian economy does not fall behind.

WHY 50/50?


Two-thirds of Australia’s carbon pollution comes from our energy sector. Cleaning up the energy sector is the key reform that breaks the back of the challenge to reduce our pollution. What’s more polling shows that people like and understand the benefit of renewable energy.

Modelling by ClimateWorks, a research body at Monash University that is chaired by John Thwaites, former Victorian Deputy Premier shows that as part of a broader energy package we must have half our electricity sourced from renewable energy by 2030 in order to play our part in keeping global warming within 2 degrees.

Origin Energy predicts that 30% of our electricity will be renewable by 2020. 50% by 2030 is achievable and will generate new industries, jobs and innovation. 


When in Government Labor set up the Climate Change Authority to provide independent advice on climate policy and made Bernie Fraser its Chair. One of the Climate Change Authority’s key tasks was to recommend national pollution reduction targets based on three criteria: the science, the international context and the economic impacts.

Just this month the Climate Change Authority has confirmed its recommendations that we should reduce pollution by 30% by 2025 and 40-60% by 2030 (against 2000 levels). Our campaign has simplified this to a call for 50% by 2030.

The 2011 Platform explicitly commits Labor to taking advice from the Climate Change Authority in setting pollution reduction targets. This Conference provides the opportunity to do so.

Adopting the Climate Change Authority’s recommendations as Labor policy has been endorsed by ALP Conferences in Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland.

Read LEAN Convenor, Felicity Wade in the Sydney Morning Herald on why adopting strong pollution reduction targets is important to Labor's future.


Labor already has a strong stance on this issue, but it is now 5 years old. LEAN believes that it needs to be updated inline with global movement and the newest science. In 2011 Labor adopted the following at the 46th National Conference:

Carbon emissions

  • dramatically cut pollution: our clean energy plan will cut pollution by at least five per cent compared with 2000 levels by 2020, which will require cutting new expected pollution by at least 23 per cent in 2020. By 2050, we are committed to cut pollution to 80 per cent below 2000 levels.
  • To ensure we achieve our commitment to cut pollution to 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050, when setting pollution caps Labor will be guided by the latest climate science, Australia’s international climate change obligations and the advice of the independent Climate Change Authority.

Renewable energy

  • unleash innovation and investment worth billions of dollars in renewable energy: large scale renewable electricity generation, excluding hydro, is projected to be 18 times its current size by 2050. Total renewable generation, including hydro, will comprise around 40 per cent of generation in 2050.
  • During our first term in government, Labor raised the Renewable Energy Target to 20 per cent ensuring 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2020.


  1. If you're a member of the Party, take the LEAN 50/50 Motion to your next Labor Branch Meeting and Federal Electoral Council or Assembly. The document for download has what to do when you've passed the motion. Most importantly, let LEAN know you have, email [email protected]
  2. Can you support LEAN financially? LEAN is a totally voluntary organisation and campaigning costs! Could you spare $5 a week to help ensure Labor has climate policy we can be proud of?


This page was posted in February 2015

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