Pollution up, investment in clean energy needed more than ever Media Release

Apr 17, 2012 - 5:11pm

National greenhouse accounts released today show a 0.6 per cent annual rise to 546.3 mega tonnes of CO2 equivalents in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.  The biggest rises are in transport (4.8 per cent), stationary energy excluding electricity (1.5 per cent) and fugitive emissions (1 per cent). Coal mining operations feature in each of these areas. 

“Australia’s carbon pollution is still on the up with coal and coal mining’s thumbprints all over it. Coal mining’s increased diesel use, onsite energy use and emissions from mine operations are making a mess of our Australian pollution record,” said The Climate Institute CEO John Connor. 

“While it is pleasing emissions from electricity continued to decline with steady growth in renewable generation, it remains Australia’s biggest polluting sector at 36 per cent and we need to continue with clean energy and carbon productivity reforms like the carbon price, renewable energy target and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.”

TCI today also welcomes the release of the expert report on how the CEFC will operate to leverage greater investment in Australian clean energy.

“The report has recognised the important role the CEFC can play in developing the technology, design, construction and operating skills in a cleaner energy world,” Connor said. “This is an important complement to the Renewable Energy Target and carbon price in potentially leveraging the flow of funds for commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy, low-emissions and energy efficiency technologies.”

The report points out that Australia is a late starter in clean energy investment, which globally reached record highs of $260 billion in 2011.

Connor said: “There are some risks in the CEFC’s proposed approach, including that they could invest in today’s technology at the expense of tomorrow’s clean energy future. For example, investments should only be made in technologies that have emissions intensity of around a tenth of the current electricity grid not a half as the CEFC suggests. This could result in current gas technologies getting the nod when this would be clearly inappropriate.”

“The CEFC has not answered The Climate Institute’s call for them to lead the accounting of Australian low carbon and clean energy investments and this leaves a large hole in measuring the effectiveness of the combination of carbon, clean energy and energy efficiency policies.”

For more information
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

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