Small positives but Emissions Reduction Fund falls short on credible climate policy tests Media Releases

Dec 20, 2013 - 3:50pm

The Green Paper on the Emission Reduction Fund, the cornerstone of the Government’s Direct Action Plan, takes some small steps forward but fails to tackle fundamental challenges to achieving credible emission targets, The Climate Institute said today. 
 
“The key test to a credible emission reduction policy is its ability to reduce Australia’s emissions by a quarter by 2020 and around 60 per cent by 2030,” Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute said. “Emission reductions of this scale are required for Australia to play a fair dinkum part in global action to avoid serious climate impacts domestically and around the world.” 

“The Climate Institute does welcome the Government’s interest in regulatory measures to complement the Emission Reduction Fund. For example, the reducing the refrigerant gases highlighted in the Green Paper in line with USA, Canadian and Mexican proposals could avoid around 54 million tonnes of carbon pollution by 2030.”


The framework the Government has outlined today does not address the fundamental challenges with the policy: it does not legally limit Australia’s total levels of pollution, continues to effectively subsidise emitting activities, and it does not position Australia to play a constructive role in building more effective global action.
The proposed policy aims to achieve Australia’s minimum 5 per cent emission reduction target and leaves open the possibility of stronger targets to be agreed in 2015. No independent analysis to date shows how Direct Action can achieve the intended emissions reductions. In fact the conservative analysis shows that under the Government’s proposed policy emissions will grow, rather than decrease.
 
“The framework the Government has outlined today does not address the fundamental challenges with the policy: it does not legally limit Australia’s total levels of pollution, continues to effectively subsidise emitting activities, and it does not position Australia to play a constructive role in building more effective global action,” Jackson said. 

“The Government plans to use taxpayer funds to pay companies to reduce their pollution, but does not plan to penalise pollution from major emitters until 2015. This is just one example of how the proposed framework limits incentives for investment in low pollution technologies.”

“We urge the Government to engage the Treasury, the Productivity Commission, or the Climate Change Authority to undertake independent analysis of the proposed policy framework and its ability to achieve Australia’s international commitments to reduce emissions by up to 25 per cent by 2020.”
 

“Critically, the Government has agreed to advance new and stronger emission targets by April 2015 at the latest. The current proposed review of the policy framework in late 2015 is misaligned with the expectations held by the USA, China and other major emitters that the Government will advance its new emission goals well before this time.”

The Climate Institute will continue to engage with the Government and other stakeholders to help inform the development of a robust and credible emission reduction framework. Yesterday the Institute submitted its views to the Senate inquiry into the Government’s Direct Action Plan. 


For more information

Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

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