Feb 18 Australia's new climate plan would cut
less than 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet
its 2020 target, while the omission of more stringent rules
would reduce this to below 30 percent, a new report said on
The conservative Abbott government plans to replace the
previous Labor government's carbon pricing policy with an
Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), under which it would pay
emitters to stay below a government-defined emissions baseline.
Some of the more stringent elements proposed in a December
Green Paper on the proposed fund could vastly improve the
efficiency of the scheme, Melbourne-based carbon research and
advisory firm RepuTex said.
Australia aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5
percent below 2000 levels by 2020, a target that requires a cut
of 431 million tonnes of CO2 between now and 2020.
Australia could cut domestic emissions by 243 million tonnes
under the new Direct Action plan, which the government hopes to
adopt by mid-year, if it includes absolute baselines for
emitters and penalties for those who fail to meet them, RepuTex
Absolute baselines would specify how much CO2 facilities in
each sector could emit per unit of production, and force those
that emit above that limit to offset or compensate for missing
"Should the government introduce a secondary market for
companies to trade offsets to maintain their emissions at
required levels, Direct Action could achieve significant
domestic emissions reductions," RepuTex executive director Hugh
But without those measures, Australia would only cut
emissions by around 123 million tonnes, the firm said.
And if the government gave in to pressure from the energy
industry to exempt it from the scheme altogether, Australia's
emissions would rise by the end of the decade, the report said.
The final look of the ERF remains unclear, and the
government will accept public comments on it until Feb. 21.
Australia has had a fixed price on carbon emissions from 380
of the nation's biggest emitters since mid-2012, which the
previous Labor government intended to turn into an emissions
trading scheme in 2015.
The Labor policy would also miss Australia's emissions
target, RepuTex said, but would make up for the shortfall by
buying offset credits from abroad, something the current
government has refused to do.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative Coalition, which
came into office last September, hopes to have its new policy in
place by July 1, but the Labor-Greens majority in the Senate has
blocked the carbon price repeal legislation.
The power of balance in the Senate shifts in July, and the
government is expected to push through its new climate policy
(Reporting by Stian Reklev in BEIJING; Editing by Richard