The Climate Institute response to Senator Xenophon's proposed ERF amendments Media Release

Oct 10, 2014 - 12:50pm

The Climate Institute today said that elements of Senator Xenophon’s proposed amendments to the Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) warrant serious consideration.

“Australia needs a durable and credible pathway to decarbonise our economy over the next three to four decades,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute. “Achieving this will require a strong mix of measures including strong binding limits on major emitters, a robust and growing Renewable Energy Target, and regulations to close our aging and inefficient coal power stations.”

“Elements of Senator Xenophon’s proposed changes to the Emission Reduction Fund could potentially complement these other measures to meet credible emission reduction targets and warrant serious consideration.”

  • The Climate Institute has long argued that a strategic reserve of funds for international carbon permit purchases is needed to ensure that Australia can meet its full range of national emission commitments. Senator Xenophon’s proposal to allow the Clean Energy Regulator to purchase international units is welcome, and the $500 million available would be enough money for Australia to achieve around a 15 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.
  • The  proposed amendments strengthen the link to international rules, and Australia’s international undertakings and obligations. Again, this is welcome. Strong references to our international commitments are important parameters for future domestic policy setting to ensure we can keep the promises we make. This is particularly relevant as Australia, along with other major emitters, define new post-2020 emission targets next year.
  • There remains significant ambiguity around the baseline setting process for major polluters. Pushing back the start date for the baselines to 2016 has some merit, as we will have greater clarity on Australia’s post-2020 emission goals at that time. However, the delay reinforces the need for policy clarity in the meantime, particularly for the electricity sector. The legislation could remove some uncertainty if it included default binding emission limits, should the regulations be disallowed by Parliament. The legislation should also clarify the role of the Climate Change Authority in advising on the baseline setting process. 

Jackson added: “While they warrant consideration, the amendments do not yet provide the necessary long-term framework for ongoing decarbonisation. This will require, for example, a bipartisan support for a robust and growing Renewable Energy Target and regulations to close our aging and inefficient coal power stations.”

“The Climate Institute will continue to examine the elements of Senator Xenophon’s proposals in detail, and welcomes the opportunity to make a more detailed submission to the Senator at a later date.”

For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299 

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