Targets must come forward

Will Steffen, climate researcher at the ANU, says Labor’s targets of 45% reduction by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050 won’t contain global heating to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. And he has the maths to prove it. See here in The Conversation.

Here is what he recommends:

  • cut domestic emissions by 50% by 2030
  • move the net-zero target date forward to 2045, or, preferably 2040
  • ban new fossil fuel developments of any kind, for either export or domestic use

And this morning the Prime Minister re-announced the Coalition’s $2 billion ‘Climate Solutions Fund’ – an extension of Tony Abbott’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). (First announced in June last year.) However analysis of that policy shows it has been flatlining since 2017, see below.

Listen here for Will Steffen telling the PM that extra funding won’t help.

Back in June 2019 the ABC reported numerous cancelled contracts under the ERF meaning 20% of anticipated reductions in emissions did not happen and the fund was underspent.

Associate Professor Paul Burke, an energy economist from the ANU, said he was not surprised auctioned contracts were failing because this type of policy required the Government to manage a large number of individual projects.

“This was the experience with the Howard-era Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program (GGAP) also. History repeats,” he said.

“Ideally, Australia would not rely on a process that involves government sponsorship and monitoring of individual projects.”

A spokesperson for the Clean Energy Regulator, which oversees the auctions, told the ABC the failure of contracts was part of the design of the system — it’s a form of flexibility that allows more companies to take part.

The Emissions Reduction Fund is designed to encourage participation by allowing flexibility in some circumstances for contracts that are successful at auction.

This means that not all projects will come to fruition so it is normal for some contracts to lapse or terminate.

“This flexibility has facilitated project registrations and ensured a high-level of participation under the scheme.”

Contracts are only paid after the emissions reductions occur, so money which was earmarked but never actually spent returns to the fund.

Because of that, the amount of money sitting in the fund has stayed relatively stable for two years, currently at $226 million.

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