Gov't confirms carbon emissions target

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

The energy supply peak body has welcomed the federal government’s bid to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a joint statement with Environment Minster Greg Hunt today confirmed the target in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris in November.

The Prime Minister’s decision came despite calls from the government’s own Climate Change Authority for a 40 to 60 per cent cut by 2030 based on 2000 levels, and the Climate Institute calling for a 45 per cent cut by 2025.

The government statement reasoned that the 26 to 28 per cent reduction will strike the right balance between environmental and economic responsibilities, and alleged that emissions per person will decline by at least 50 per cent between 2005 and 2030, while emissions per unit of GDP will fall by 64 per cent.

The announcement comes after the Australian Climate Roundtable presented a suite of principals to the federal government calling for swift action on climate policy.

The Australian Climate Roundtable is made up of the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, The Climate Institute, the Energy Supply Association of Australia, the Investor Group on Climate Change and WWF Australia.

The principals called for the country’s climate policy be stable and drive abatement across all sectors of the economy; prevent unnecessary loss of competitiveness in trade exposed industries; stimulate research; open new and decent work opportunities for the community; protect and avoid disproportionate impacts on vulnerable individuals and low income households.

Energy Supply Association of Australia CEO Matthew Warren welcomed today’s news, saying the target was credible and a step in the right direction.

He said delivering on the government’s pledge will require a comprehensive policy review to establish an efficient, effective, durable process for reducing greenhouse emissions across the economy.

“The Government’s target is significant because it shifts the focus onto how we are going to deliver sustained and substantial reductions in emissions across the economy for the rest of this century,” Mr Warren said.

Citing the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, which was established in 2014 to buy emissions to reach the current target of 5 per cent by 2020, Mr Warren said the new target was a material increase in abatement.

“We won’t be able to buy our way to 26-28 per cent and beyond. We will need a credible, durable and bipartisan carbon policy to achieve this target.

“We have shared the frustration of the stop-start approach to climate policy over the past decade, but at the same time we have learnt a lot, both here in Australia and globally, about what works and what doesn’t.”

To read what the Energy Supply Association of Australia have to say about the impact this announcement will have on the natural gas industry, ensure you subscribe to Gas Today to receive our Spring edition, where we will explore the issue.

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