Initial response to CCA Report: Useful but neglects key fundamentals Media Release

Aug 31, 2016 - 5:40pm

The Climate Change Authority’s special report, released today, includes valuable proposals but neglects the key fundamentals that the government shouldn’t avoid in its 2017 policy review, The Climate Institute said in its initial response today.

“This report was required to consider the objectives of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. However, the implied emissions reduction pathway in the report would use up 90 per cent of a Paris carbon budget for Australia by 2030,” said John Connor, CEO The Climate Institute.

“The recommendations in the report neglect a key fundamental of climate science. If we emit more now, we have to emit much less later in order to keep within the overall temperature limits of 1.5-2°C that the government agreed to in Paris.”

“If implemented, these policies would mean, after 2030, that to meet Paris objectives, carbon prices would need to skyrocket, coal plants would have to be close within a matter of years, and clean energy investments would need to be scaled to well beyond practical levels.”

There are useful elements in the recommendations of the report. These include the emissions limit for the electricity sector, that declines to zero well before 2050, and a toolkit approach. However, as a package, it falls well short of setting Australia on a steady path to net zero emissions.

“Building on the current policy framework to deliver a stable, scalable and durable bipartisan support policy framework is critical to the long-term prosperity of Australians, but this report does not go far enough.” Connor said.

Critically, to meet temperature limits in line with the Paris Agreement, all of Australia’s aging coal plants will need to be replaced with clean energy by around 2035. In the absence of additional policies that will drive the replacement of our aging coal generators with clean energy, penalties under the proposed scheme would need to be $70/tonne or more from 2020 onward.

“The policy framework the CCA has recommended leaves the transition to clean energy in the hands of an electricity market designed for the last century. This only increases the risk that coal exits will be unpredictable, disorderly and very costly to coal-dependent communities and the broader community,” Connor said.

“There are elements of the CCA’s report that are very worthy of consideration, but we urge the government not to ignore the scientific and international fundamentals as it considers its 2017 review of climate policies and, as required by the Paris agreements, when it revisits its 2030 target before 2020.”

Last week, The Climate Institute released its National Agenda for Climate Action. This set out three criteria that are fundamental for making effective Australian climate and energy policy:

  1. Setting a credible pathway to net zero emissions;
  2. Ensuring investor, business and community confidence in clean energy; and 
  3. Integrating climate costs and opportunities into mainstream decision-making.

For more information
Brinsley Marlay ● Media Manager ● 0422 140 555

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