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Legacy for South Australia

Stephen Schneider has left South Australia with a legacy of leadership on climate change.
Stephen's time as an Adelaide Thinker in Residence coincided with an intense period of activity in South Australia around developing climate change policy responses. This meant that he was able to provide valuable direction and advice on policy measures for inclusion in South Australia's Greenhouse Strategy.

Legislation

Professor Schneider contributed to the development of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007. This was the nation's first climate change legislation and became law on 3 July 2007, making South Australia the first Australian jurisdiction, and one of only a few in the world to enact specific climate change legislation to enshrine a long-term aspirational reduction target.

The Act sets out three targets to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the State by at least 60% of 1990 levels by the end of 2050
  • increase the proportion of renewable electricity generated so it comprises at least 20% of electricity generated in the State by the end of 2014 (the Premier has since increased this target to 33% by 2020)
  • increase the proportion of renewable electricity consumed so it comprises at least 20% of electricity consumed in the State by the end of 2014.

The legislation commits the Government to work with business and the community to develop Sector Agreements and create a Premier's Climate Change Council to provide Government with an independent stream of advice on the impact of climate change.

This high level independent Council has been formed to advise the Premier on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. It consists of 10 members drawn from SA's public, private and not-for-profit sectors and is chaired by David Klingberg AO.

Finalised Sector agreements have been negotiated with:

  • the South Australian Wine Industry Association and the Winegrape Growers of SA
  • the Local Government Association of SA
  • the Property Council of Australia (SA)
  • the Anglican Church
  • Adelaide Brighton Ltd
  • the South Australian University sector
  • SA Water
  • the Technology Industry Association
  • Jeffries Group
  • Adelaide City Council
  • Royal Automobile Association (RAA) of South Australia
  • The Eyre Peninsula region
  • The VET Sector
  • additional agreements are being negotiated. 

Policy

Renewable Energy

Professor Schneider stressed the importance of increasing the market share of renewable and low-emission technologies. The Government has already put in place a number of policy responses to assist in achieving this objective. These include:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the State by at least 60% of 1990 levels by the end of 2050
  • increase the proportion of renewable electricity generated so it comprises at least 20% of electricity generated in the State by the end of 2014 (the Premier has since increased this target to 33% by 2020)
  • increase the proportion of renewable electricity consumed so it comprises at least 20% of electricity consumed in the State by the end of 2014
  • the introduction of Australia's first feed-in legislation that has encouraged the uptake of solar energy by rewarding the owners of solar panels for the surplus energy they return to the grid
  • in June 2009 the Premier announced the establishment of RenewablesSA, a sub-committee of the Economic Development Board.  

Land Management Corporation

Land Management Corporation (LMC) launched a new policy on innovation and sustainability in 2008, affecting all LMC developments. LMC now include climate change adaptation, impacts of climate Change and climate change risk as key considerations.  

SA Water

Stephen’s work with SA Water has produced systemic change through the revision of analytical tools.  

Through Water Services of Australia, SA Water is strengthening its ties with the Water Industry globally to tackle common issues on greenhouse and energy matters, with membership including examples: 

  •  American Water Works Association Research Foundation 
  • The Water Environment Research Foundation

In addition, SA Water has established its Climate Change Sector Agreement with the South Australian Government, including its commitment to contribute to 20% renewable energy.