May 05, 2016 - 1:15pm
Australia’s emissions are continuing to rise and the Emissions Reduction Fund is largely spent, showing once again that it could only ever function as a supporting part of a broader climate change policy framework, The Climate Institute said today.
“After three auctions, the Emissions Reduction Fund has now used up 67 per cent of its budget, but has contracted for only three per cent of the emission reductions needed for Australia to be on track meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement it has just signed,” said Climate Institute CEO, John Connor. “In fact, it achieves only seven per cent of the reductions needed to meet the government’s current inadequate 2030 target.”
“Based on the logic of previous claims made by the government, taxpayers have funded Australia’s rising carbon pollution at about $90 per tonne.*
With no new funding budgeted for the Emissions Reduction Fund, Connor said carbon farming, and other emissions reduction jobs and industries reliant on it, are in the dark about their future - and the nation is still left waiting for the government to present a coherent plan to grow an economy with net zero emissions .
Meanwhile Australia’s emissions have not actually fallen. In fact, after nearly a decade of gradual decline till 2014, the country’s domestic emissions are now rising and government projections are that they will keep doing so. By 2020, domestic emissions are projected to be 577 million tonnes annually, up by five per cent from current levels.
“It appears the Clean Energy Regulator has run another professional auction,” Connor said. “But we now urgently need to get down to the policies that matter - this process should start with a closure plan for Australia’s old and inefficient coal burning power plants so they can be replaced with clean energy alternatives over the next 20 years.”
The Climate Institute continues to underline the point that the longer we delay the implementation of a national policy to tackle the drivers of recent emissions increases, the more costly, disruptive and difficult it will be for Australia to prosper in a world shifting to clean energy and to deliver on our Paris commitments to help limit global average temperature rise to 1.5-2°C.
* This compares ERF expenditure with the reported change in national emissions since the ERF has been in operation. This calculation uses the same logic as that underpinning the government’s previous “untenable” claim that the carbon price cost $1300 per tonne to reduce emissions. Both calculations are overly simplistic - they ignore the fact that both the carbon price and the ERF only tackle a sub-set of national emissions, assume budget revenue or spending is a net cost, and also ignore other factors driving total emissions up and down.
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