Professor Leslie Hughes, Climate Council member and Climate Authority member. Source Guardian, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject.

Aussie Climate Authority Member Demands Net Zero by 2040

Essay by Eric Worrall

A surprisingly timid target from a member of Tim Flannery’s climate council.

Australia should reach net zero by 2040, new Climate Change Authority member says 

Exclusive: Prof Lesley Hughes, a climate specialist appointed this week, says current target is not good enough

Graham Readfearn @readfearn Sat 17 Sep 2022 06.00 AEST

A new scientific member of the government’s revamped Climate Change Authority has said Australia should be aiming to reach net zero at least a decade earlier than 2050.

Prof Lesley Hughes, a biologist and climate change specialist, said Australia’s current climate target for 2030 was “not good enough” but said the new government was showing a willingness to listen to the science.

Hughes is one of three new female appointments announced by energy minister Chris Bowen earlier this week to address concerns the authority’s board was weighed too heavily towards business and fossil fuels.

The Albanese government has legislated a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030, based on 2005 levels – an increase on the Morrison government’s 26% cut.

Read more:

My question, why not aim for 2035? Or 2030?

Peak Australian electricity use is 32GW. World Nuclear gives the cost of a new plant at $2500 / KWh in China. So $2500 x 1000,000 x 32 = $80 billion to eliminate Aussie electricity CO2 emissions.

I’m using Chinese figures, because I’m assuming an element of mass production efficiency, like France achieved in the 1970s, or China is achieving today.

How long does it take to build a nuclear plant? Around 5 years according to world nuclear. But you don’t have to build them one at a time – all of them could be built in parallel.

There are currently 55 nuclear plants under construction – so there are plenty of nuclear engineers available to assist an Aussie mass buildup of nuclear power capacity. Retired senior nuclear engineers would come out of the woodwork to support a project like that.

Starting today, Australia could achieve electricity net zero by 2027. Or if we add a few years for the politicians to get their act together, including 12-24 months for a few locals to be trained as nuclear plant operators, so lets say 2030.

Of course we wouldn’t need 32GW of energy all the time, that’s the peak power demand. Most of the time demand is much lower. So building 32GW of nuclear power would provide vast amounts of cheap surplus zero carbon electricity for industry, like Aluminium smelters, so Australia could climb the value chain by selling a higher proportion of processed minerals. Some of that energy could also be used for cheap overnight recharges for EVs. Renewables struggle to provide decent output at night – even wind tends to drop after sundown.

If you think these numbers are ridiculously optimistic, we have proof it is possible. France converted their electricity from fossil fuel to nuclear in the 1970s, most of their electricity still comes from nuclear reactors. The French motivation was energy security rather than climate change, but if climate change really is such an emergency, the French provided a roadmap others could follow. Some of the engineers who converted France to zero carbon nuclear in two decades are still alive, and could share their learnings.

My point is, there is no need for Climate Counsellor Professor Lesley Hughes to be so timid. Especially since the Climate Council maintains wind and solar are cheaper than coal, and battery storage is doable, so no doubt her numbers for converting Australia to renewables are even more optimistic than mine.

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Old Man Winter
September 17, 2022 6:07 pm

Be careful what you wish for!

Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 20, 2022 4:38 pm

Thank you for that. I was coming here to suggest a thought experiment (what the heck!, why not in reality?) that would place Prof Hughes and her ilk in a truly “net-zero” environment and see how she fares, while leaving the rest of us to do as we wish.

Besides, all the “carbon reduction” of all the western countries will NOT offset the “carbon enhancing” activities of China and India…

Why should we sacrifice our futures when it will make no difference to Mother Gaia?

Bryan A
September 17, 2022 6:14 pm

What will peak demand do by 2030 WRT the potential electrification of current FF sourced energy (Cooking, Heating, Transportation). And what about Australia’s share of Global Transportation (Shipping, Airlines, etc.). Will Qantas Airlines go Battery Batty?

Reply to  Bryan A
September 18, 2022 5:53 am

Why couldn’t Quantas just follow suite and go nuclear?

Bryan A
Reply to  Spetzer86
September 18, 2022 11:27 am

Unfortunately that system was decades away when it was scrapped in 1961. ($1B in 1961 over $10B today) So would likely take several decades to develop and could not contribute by 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045???

September 17, 2022 6:36 pm

Just remember Net Zero is not Zero.
You can achieve Net Zero by paying people to make promises that they will do really really good social justice projects.

Serge Wright
September 17, 2022 6:37 pm

Electricity generation only accounts for 30% of the emissions. I agree that could be transitioned rapidly to nuclear if the political will existed, but the other 70% of emissions are more problematic and require offshoring of industry and the end of farming and importation of food from countries that are outside of the CO2 restriction cartel.

Barry James
September 17, 2022 6:48 pm

The “Climate Council” is an activist group headed by the infamous Tim (Flim) Flannery. It has no official standing. Nobody cares what they think. It’s about on par with Cook’s “Skeptical Science”

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Barry James
September 17, 2022 7:58 pm

I thought so too, but this statement implies that the new government has taken them back into the fold:

Hughes is one of three new female appointments announced by energy minister Chris Bowen earlier this week to address concerns the authority’s board was weighed too heavily towards business and fossil fuels.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 17, 2022 10:00 pm

It would be no surprise if Minister Chris Bowen was joining forces with the Climate Council and other Greens groups.

Reply to  Dennis
September 18, 2022 3:18 am

yup green zealots showing through

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 18, 2022 4:26 pm

Chris Bowen is one of the government’s leading Idiots.

Reply to  Barry James
September 17, 2022 9:59 pm

Defunded by the Abbott Coalition Government 2013/15, non-government organisation, Climate Council.

During the 2019/20 bushfire season the Climate Council attacked the Federal Government claiming that the PM would not meet with former Fire Commissioners (Climate Council members) who wanted to warn that 2019 could be the start of a seriously bad bushfire season (after years of drought and land care neglect), but primary responsibility for natural disasters including bushfires is State governments. In fact preparations had been in place for 2018/19 because of concerns that did not eventuate, so the claimed rejected request to meet the PM was a baseless publicity stunt.

There are no Federal services equivalent to State Emergency Service or State Rural Fire Servic and Air Wing, those services are funded from State Budgets and with Federal grants as applied for from time to time. Federal does during crisis periods, but only when requested by State authorities, deploy Australian Defence Force personnel and assets to assist.

The Federal Labor and Greens opposition jumped on board the Climate Council stunt and also blamed the PM and Federal Government for not doing more about the bushfires. In other words a coordinated politically based campaign preparing for the 2022 election.

Reply to  Barry James
September 18, 2022 1:54 am

Leslie could do with a makeover. All pose not poise along side with Tim the magician prognosticator . The climate council pops up once in a while with some messages of doom to come. Irrelevant.

Reply to  Glen MICHELL
September 19, 2022 10:18 am

she’s a witch … but not one of the good ones.

takes way too much power to do a makeover on a bad witch.

Reply to  Barry James
September 18, 2022 3:18 am

yeah like “environment Victoria”
sounds like its govvy but its NOT
just another bunch of wannabes with an agenda to ruin society
as if stair-man Dan isnt wrecking enough!

Bob Close
Reply to  Barry James
September 20, 2022 2:31 am

No, the general public and socialist left and Greens think these people are legit and at the top of their profession, so must be listened to as authority figures. It’s no wonder we are in such a mess with these dodos giving professional advice to governments.

September 17, 2022 6:54 pm

You will have to explain yourself better regarding cost. Firstly, I think you mean $2500KWe, but secondly what does that actually mean.
It all seems complicated for me so I don’t know how a climate change scientist will understand.

Sorry but getting costs even closely correct is important.
Here in Melbourne for comparison, the promised $50 Billion Suburban Rail Loop is now estimated to cost $125 Billion

John K. Sutherland
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 18, 2022 7:47 am

Oklo, Gabon, Africa. Two billion years ago.

Giordano Milton
September 17, 2022 7:23 pm

What will it cost?
What will it accomplish?

Be specific. How many dollars, how many lives ruined, how many degrees, and is the change good or bad?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 17, 2022 8:38 pm

IMO the whole CO2 emissions concern thing for Oz (and Canada and NZ) is just another cringe factor for wannabe UN officials from these neo ex- commonwealth politicians and WEF acolytes.

Deep-down, I don’t think any of them actually believe the bullshit they put out, but it brings the $$$$$s in to pay the mortgage and the kids’ education costs, and gets them all-paid trips to exotic conference venurs, so work it for all it’s worth, hey?

September 17, 2022 7:42 pm

Australians again? Is it something in the water or is it the climate (…) that leads their ‘experts’ to think they understand anything at all about the climate. I was just looking at some expired predictions on extinctionclock and comparing them to reality. Here is one by an Australian made ten years ago followed by a new story this year:

End of Australian snow’ by 2020.
September 5, 2012    
From GriffthNews, quote: “Griffith’s Associate Professor Catherine Pickering has researched the effects of declining snow cover and hotter summers on the Australian Alps. […] ‘We’ve predicted by 2020 to lose something like 60% of the snow cover of the Australian Alps,’ she said. […] ‘In a few years the amount of water that ski resorts will need to make snow is going to exceed the amount of water that’s used by Canberra. And it looks like we are heading back towards dry conditions, so where will they get the water?'”. 

Australia Sees Huge Snowfalls To Start 2022 Season

Excitement levels are particularly high in Australia where most ski areas opened a week earlier than planned last weekend after a big pre-season snowfall last week. The snow has now started falling again and several areas have now had more than a metre of snowfall in the past week, making it now one of the snowiest weeks of all time in the country.
Among claimed stats are “the snowiest start to an Australian ski season for 22 years” and “one of the two snowiest starts to the season ever”. The snow has been falling at a rate of up to half-a-metre in 24 hours.

You would think the would stay silent for a while.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Jtom
September 17, 2022 9:30 pm

Can we assume that Associate Professor Catherine Pickering, if asked to comment, will claim the prediction has been delayed to 2030 (or some such goal post movement) because of … insert non sequitur here.

When one starts with a false axiom the results are unpredictable and almost always wrong.

David John
Reply to  John Hultquist
September 18, 2022 3:40 pm

I’d attribute the delay to the rampant increase in numbers of tattoos!

Reply to  Jtom
September 17, 2022 10:02 pm

It has been said that lies repeated often enough will become truths.

Same as political mud throwing, some always sticks to the target and eventually the target is covered in mud and few people can remember what the target really is.

Bob Close
Reply to  Jtom
September 20, 2022 2:38 am

Yes, considering they have a 100% success rate, at being wrong. If they were a business board they would have been sacked and prosecuted for misleading the public and shareholders.

September 17, 2022 8:04 pm

Once again, “climate scientists” trespassing out of their lane and invading the spheres of reliablle utility-scale energy production, storage & distribution.

Have any msm “journalists” ever asked the likes of Lesley Hughes what their qualifications / experience / achievements in grid-scale electricity are?

If the answer to the question was ‘crickets’, then tell her and her ilk to S.T.F.U.

Reply to  Mr.
September 18, 2022 3:04 am

Have any msm “journalists” ever asked ….

Whilst the answer remains the same, I think you mean:

“Have any Misleadia Churnalists ever asked….”

John in Oz
Reply to  Mr.
September 18, 2022 9:21 pm

This is what I thought of when reading the article.

Prof Lesley Hughes, a climate specialist

NOT an engineer, economist, town planner, architect or any of the many professions required to either build her vision or correct for the effects of it.

How will society function if we follow her desires? Nirvana or purgatory?

September 17, 2022 8:28 pm

Sometimes, I get the feeling that the urgency to put in place all the things they want to do is to get it done before, you know, the weather turns against them.

September 17, 2022 8:38 pm


Prof Lesley Hughes, a biologist and climate change specialist, said Australia’s current climate target for 2030 was “not good enough” but said the new government was showing a willingness to listen to the science.

Voodo climate science perhaps since the there is no climate emergency visible anywhere really are they that mentally deficient to continue this stupid conscience free propaganda paradigm?

Reply to  Sunsettommy
September 17, 2022 9:34 pm

a) 2030? Is that a misprint? I thought the original goal was 2050.
b) “Biologist and climate change specialist.” Okay, has she been writing papers on the effects of climate change on animal behavior?

Chris Hanley
September 17, 2022 9:03 pm

It may surprise many Australians but Australia is one of the few developed (even developing) countries in the world without nuclear power generation.
comment image
Adding insult to injury:
“Australia has the world’s largest Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) of uranium—1,147 thousand tonnes of uranium (ktU; 642,491 petajoules [PJ]) as at 31 December 2019—and is the world’s third largest producer of uranium. In 2019, Australia had three producing uranium mines: Olympic Dam and Four Mile in South Australia, and Ranger in the Northern Territory” (Geoscience Australia).

Chris Hanley
September 17, 2022 9:30 pm

Many Australians are deluded into believing that the adoption of nuclear power would be a radical and dangerous step and that the country has an overabundance of ‘free’ wind and solar power waiting to be developed thereby leading the world, laughable and sad.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
September 17, 2022 10:04 pm

It amuses me that Labor and Greens opposing nuclear ask who wants a nuclear power station in their backyard.

There are so many coal fired power stations in people’s backyards, apparently.

David John
Reply to  Dennis
September 18, 2022 3:44 pm

Have each Green and Teal host a wind turbine in their backyard!

September 17, 2022 11:00 pm

Australia should reach net zero by 2040

Supposing they manage to do it. Exactly how much effect would that have on climate?

I’ll wait…

September 17, 2022 11:09 pm

Will the Australian targets be on per capita basis as Australia is ramping up the migrant intake to around 195,000 per year or roughly 0.8 per cent of its population? Seems to be contradictory policy.

Reply to  eo
September 17, 2022 11:46 pm

The new Federal Government has announced that “refugees” (illegal immigrants seeking asylum that previous Labor Federal Governments granted each one a temporary protection visa and permission to stay in Australia, ignoring the offshore processing and detention system the Pacific Solution provided to deter people smuggling, over 50,000 given visas, will now be granted permanent residency in Australia.

People smugglers will be pleased to be able to explain to prospective clients that the border is open again, and even if it is closed after the next change of government just wait and be patient.

September 18, 2022 12:45 am

Climate change specialist?

Don’t forget a brolly. (UK)

September 18, 2022 3:15 am

why the hell build nukes when we HAVE huge coal stores all over the place easier faster and safer

John Hultquist
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 18, 2022 9:12 am
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 18, 2022 10:48 am

Because hydrocarbons including coal have other uses so leaving them for the future is a good idea. Coal for example is very useful in production new steel. Coal could also be used to replace oil though the process would be costly.
Nuclear on the other hand makes power or bombs. We already have plenty of bombs so let’s use it for power. We have plenty of it and if we run low, we can use breeders. If we run low on that, there is always thorium. If we run out of that, we might have fusion working by then.

September 18, 2022 3:24 am

this week we saw pictures af Brumbies killed in the highlands as being a risk to the environment hard hooves ruin soils eat native plants etc etc they were NOT killed cleanly and pregnant mares shot as well
within two days we have some utter wacker femme on ABC radio raving about their new green fire hazard reduction plans using???
yup we cant graze cattle or let the brumbies be when they eat selectively, goats eat EVERY damn bush grass and even ringbark trees but thats ok?
meanwhile most of aus is trying to cull the thousands of feral goat for OS sale and pet food.
oh except in parks where they are shot and LEFT! by law to rot and feed dingos and wild dogs and feral cats breed flies etc same as the poor damned horses were

September 18, 2022 4:15 am

The “Climate Crisis” is only based on bad models and the media spreading these disinformations.
The real world is different.

A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming.

This article reviews recent bibliography on time series of some extreme weather events and related response indicators in order to understand whether an increase in intensity and/or frequency is detectable. The most robust global changes in climate extremes are found in yearly values of heatwaves (number of days, maximum duration and cumulated heat), while global trends in heatwave intensity are not significant. Daily precipitation intensity and extreme precipitation frequency are stationary in the main part of the weather stations. Trend analysis of the time series of tropical cyclones show a substantial temporal invariance and the same is true for tornadoes in the USA. At the same time, the impact of warming on surface wind speed remains unclear. The analysis is then extended to some global response indicators of extreme meteorological events, namely natural disasters, floods, droughts, ecosystem productivity and yields of the four main crops (maize, rice, soybean and wheat). None of these response indicators show a clear positive trend of extreme events. In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet. It would be nevertheless extremely important to define mitigation and adaptation strategies that take into account current trends.”

willem post
September 18, 2022 5:13 am

Four leading Italian scientists have undertaken a major review of historical climate trends and concluded that declaring a ‘climate emergency’ is not supported by the data.

Reviewing data from a wide range of weather phenomena, they say a ‘climate crisis’ of the kind people are becoming alarmed about “is not evident yet”.

The scientists suggest that rather than burdening our children with anxiety about climate change, we should encourage them to think about issues like energy, food and health, and the challenges in each area, with a more “objective and constructive spirit” and not waste limited resources on “costly and ineffective solutions”.

During the course of their work, the scientists found:

– Rainfall intensity and frequency is stationary in many parts of the world.

– Tropical hurricanes and cyclones show little change over the long term, and the same is true of U.S. tornadoes.

– Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity show no “clear positive trend of extreme events”.

– Regarding ecosystems, the scientists note a considerable “greening” of global plant biomass in recent decades caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Satellite data show “greening” trends over most of the planet, increasing food yields and pushing back deserts.

The four scientists are all highly qualified and include physics adjunct professor Gianluca Alimonti, agrometeorologist Luigi Mariani, and physics professors Franco Prodi and Renato Angelo Ricci.

Reply to  willem post
September 18, 2022 6:22 am

I posted the story earlier this day, it’s still in moderation.

September 18, 2022 5:49 am

Eric, you burried your lead. The nuclear story is great.

September 18, 2022 7:34 am

What personal plan and timeline for net zero by 2040 has the good perfessor and her Climate Change Authority peers published for themselves individually? Where can they be viewed for progress checking?

John K. Sutherland
September 18, 2022 7:48 am

More hair, than wit.

September 18, 2022 8:46 am

Demand? How dare you. China has cities that produce more CO2 than Australia. CO2 is your friend….it is needed for O2 – your vital friend.

Tony K
September 18, 2022 10:27 am

What they really mean by Net Zero is,regular people will have zero money left.

September 18, 2022 12:59 pm

World Nuclear gives the cost of a new plant at $2500 / KWh in China. So $2500 x 1000,000 x 32 = $80 billion to eliminate Aussie electricity CO2 emissions.

FFS if you don’t understand the numbers and can’t even quote what you read accurately, don’t try to write articles about the subject you can’t even follow.

It’s $2500 / KW not KWh ( power vs energy ) and it’s kW not KW ( the first sign of someone who does not know the subject is not even knowing how to write kilowatt ).

Apart from that, the $80 billion will cover current electricity production that is a just a fraction of all energy use giving rise to CO2. You forgot domestic and industrial fuel use and transportation: the two of the biggest consumers of energy. Once you put everyone on electric everything you can probably more than triple that figure.

September 18, 2022 1:05 pm

“How long does it take to build a nuclear plant? Around 5 years according to world nuclear.”

If you have CCP confiscating land and mandating planning permission.

If you try that in US, it will take you 15y to get past EPA planning requirements before you even clear the site to rehouse rare, protected varieties of snail !

September 18, 2022 8:57 pm

Prof Lesley Hughes should lead by example. My challenge to her is for her to it by 2030, just to show us it can be done. I have no faith she will.

September 18, 2022 10:25 pm

Prof Lesley Hughes, a biologist and climate change specialist, said Australia’s current climate target for 2030 was “not good enough” but said the new government was showing a willingness to listen to the science.

I doubt the Gummint is willing to listen to the science but you certainly should perfessor-
Report finds ‘no evidence’ of a climate emergency (
Rather than listening to the touch screen catastrophists and hysterics like Greta and Co.

September 18, 2022 10:30 pm

Prof Lesley Hughes can demand all she wants. She should just be aware that people in hell also demand ice water.

Geoffrey Williams
September 18, 2022 11:23 pm

Why do we have to put up with these people !?

September 19, 2022 1:04 pm

With all due respect, which isn’t much, Prof Lesley Hughes is an idiot. She’s delusional. Bordering on insane. She is not mentally well. And it appears her intellect is not much higher than your average 5-year old. In 2000, Australia got 4% of its energy from non-carbon sources. In 2020, it got 10% of its energy from non-carbon sources.

In 20 years, the country increased in non-carbon energy sources by 6% of its total. And she thinks in 2040, in just 18 years, it can increase in non-carbon energy sources by 90%??? She’s delusional.

And don’t get me starting on the mining, manufacturing, and political problems involved with her delusion. It’s pure fantasy.

peter dimopoulos
September 19, 2022 4:30 pm

net zero is for wimps….real leaders will implement ‘negative CO2’….we have to remove all CO2 from the atmosphere….otherwise the planet will collapse…..’Negative CO2’ is the future.

September 20, 2022 5:16 am

We have a few calling out these climate change shills telling porkies-
‘Not possible’: Climate emergency disputed by scientists (

September 21, 2022 5:46 am

Cause we know betta, we gonna shut you gasoline!

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