Nick Xenophon Team Climate Policy Credibility Assessment | Election 2016

Nick Xenophon Team




Recent actions undertaken by Nick Xenophon in Parliament

Senator Xenophon was absent for the 2014 vote to repeal the carbon pricing mechanism; in 2013 he had voted against its repeal because of concern with the Coalition’s “inefficient and clunky” Direct Action package.9 The Senator opposed the original legislation in 2011 as he has been a consistent supporter of an alternative emissions intensity-based carbon pricing mechanism. He voted for reforms that established the ERF safeguard mechanism a and successfully moved an amendment linking it to achievement of international climate undertakings.10 Senator Xenophon has been a critic of wind farms, but supportive of the need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. He voted for amendments to reduce the legislated 2020 renewable energy target and supported the Senate Inquiry into Carbon Risk Disclosure.


Global warming implied by NXT's target
2-3°C – Senator Xenophon has supported an emission reduction target of 50 per cent from 2000 levels by 2030, which is the midpoint of the CCA’s recommended range. This equates to 55 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. If other countries adopt similar targets, the result would be global warming of 2-3°C.


Per person emissions implied by NXT’s target
8.9 tonnes in 2030 – the NXT’s current 2030 target would place Australia 10th amongst G20 nations in 2030.


Key features of the NXT’s policy and relevant commitments include (TCI analysis in italics):


Objective 1: Limit emissions for warming of 1.5-2°C

  1. Supports emission reductions of 50 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030. This is a welcome support for significant emissions reduction, however still below TCI recommended reductions. Has not spoken of the requirement or timeline for net zero emissions.
  2. Committed to retaining and fully funding the independent Climate Change Authority. Welcome commitment but more clarity on what the NXT expects the CCA to do would be helpful.

Objective 2. Grow a net zero emissions economy and modernise energy

  1. Supports Australia “quickly mov[ing] to a cleaner and more affordable energy future”. Supports investigating the feasibility of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. Supports investment in clean energy technologies through ARENA and CEFC. Welcome recognition of the benefits of cleaning up Australia’s energy system and the need to do this urgently, but more detail on policy framework to achieve this would be helpful.

  2. Double Australia's energy productivity by 2030. Welcome commitment, more detail on policy mechanisms to achieve this goal would be helpful.

  3. Supports carbon pricing through a baseline and credit scheme. Such a mechanism is potentially scalable and durable but more detail on the objectives and coverage of such a scheme would be helpful.

Objective 3. Mainstream climate risk and opportunity assessment

  1. Supports a national strategy and standards for sustainable and resilient cities, and support for regional and local adaptation, to ensure climate adaptation is addressed at all levels of government. Approach to cities is promising but does not address other sectors or decision frameworks in need of integrated climate risk management.

Policy positives

  • Supports 2030 target of 50 per cent emission reductions.

  • Supports carbon pricing and emissions trading.

  • Supports quickly shifting toward cleaner energy.

Policy negatives

  • No acknowledgement of the need to achieve net zero emissions.

  • No plan for a modern zero emissions economy and no framework for clean energy replacing coal power.

  • Apart from cities strategy, lacks clarity on integrating climate risk management into decision-making. 

Summary of NXT's climate policy position 

NXT policies support broadly positive directions but lack detail. Senator Xenophon has championed a form of carbon pricing with the baseline and credit approach. While a critic of wind farms, he is supportive of renewable energy. Senator Xenophon has agreed that we need emissions reduction of 50 per cent by 2030, however NXT has no clear plans for achieving net zero emissions or fully decarbonising electricity. Broad support for building greater resilience to climate impacts but lack of clarity on integrating risk assessments into decision making. For these reasons we describe NXT climate and energy policies as: supports significant emissions reduction, carbon pricing and most renewable energy, but more detail required.

Where will Australia’s 2030 per capita pollution stack up with each of the parties policies?
Impacts of 1°C, 1-2°C, 2-3°C and +3°C of global warming to Australia.
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