The heavy lifting to cut Australia’s emissions to ensure our Paris commitments for 2030 will not come from the biggest emitting sector, electricity, under the federal government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) pro-rata share approach.
Rather, sectors like Transport, Stationary Energy, and Fugitives will each have to cut emissions by 30 per cent and more over the next decade for the nation to get close to meeting just the already committed downpayment on its Paris obligations.
Agriculture and Industry will also need to achieve 20 per cent reductions.
These are among the key findings of the Climate Council’s latest Working Paper, “Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions ” which finds that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions increased for the third consecutive year in 2017, approaching all-time highs.
Under current policies, Australia will fail to meet its 2030 Paris commitments and will completely exhaust its global carbon budget share well before 2030.
While electricity sector is the only major polluting sector likely to meet the woefully inadequate 2030 pro-rata 26 per cent target set for it by the Federal Government, that has almost nothing to do with the NEG.
Indeed, the electricity sector only needs to reduce cumulative emissions by 8 per cent from 2018 to 2030 in order to achieve its pro rata reduction share.
It’s the rush of new renewable projects being built by 2020 to meet the Renewable Energy Target, state and territory reverse auction initiatives, and corporate renewable PPAs that will deliver the 2030 reductions, essentially by 2020.
The NEG ensures that other key sectors of the economy will shoulder much greater burdens to reduce emissions where it will be much more challenging and expensive.
The prospect for these sectors cutting emissions this much in a decade is remote on current policy settings, or initiatives currently up for discussion with the Federal Government.”
Join the dots. Australia will not meet its 2030 Paris emissions reduction commitment, woeful though that is, unless big step change national policies across all of these sectors are implemented before 2020,
How can it be in the national interest to saddle the rest of the economy, industry and consumers with high abatement costs when electricity can and is currently doing more to reduce emissions?
It makes no engineering or economic sense.
It also makes no sense for State, Territory and corporate renewable electricity purchases to be subsumed by the NEG emissions target. This fails to relieve pressure on other sectors of the economy.
State, Territory and corporate reverse auction schemes are a proven effective way to add capacity at lowest cost, and transparently when the public is paying for it.
The NEG emissions scheme is completely opaque to the consumers who will pay for it, unproven, and untested anywhere.
Member companies of industry associations like the BCA, APPEA, MCA, AIG, EUAA, NFF, motoring organisations and the like should be asking the question – “Why are we pushing for such a lowball NEG electricity emissions target when it will boomerang back at us to do much more across our own businesses?”
Join the dots.
Andrew Stock is a councillor for the Climate Council.