Emissions switch slammed
The Federal Government has been accused of shifting the goalposts with the release of new annual emissions projections.
The government has put out a review of its climate policies that appears to foreshadow a loosening of the current safeguard pollution limits.
It has also released official emissions data that projects emissions will increase continually all the way to 2030 and beyond.
The Coalition has been accused of trying to sneak out the figures at a time when its cabinet reshuffle dominated headlines, and criticised for potentially opening its emissions safeguards in a way that could see bigger polluters increase their pollution levels.
The safeguards mechanism sets emissions “baselines” as a limit for big polluters.
The new climate review opens the door to loosening it so that business will not face restraints on growth.
The review of climate policies by the Department of Environment and Energy also keeps the emissions reduction fund, the centrepiece of Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy, which pays companies to reduce their emissions.
It does not detail the cost of keeping the fund going. The fund started at $2.55 billion and about $260 million remains now, with a decision on how much to allocate to the fund due in the May budget.
The Investor Group on Climate Change says the Coalition has failed to deliver a plan that can manage climate risk while also providing investment certainty.
“Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising in all sectors of the economy,” group chief Emma Herd said.
“This is creating financial risks for investors.
“The 2017 climate change policy review, while noting progress in some areas, fails to deliver a comprehensive national decarbonisation plan for the Australian economy.
“The question remains – what is the plan for tackling Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions?
“Business is looking for a plan on how Australia is going to tackle climate change. Instead they got last year’s greatest hits album for summer.”