May 12, 2015 - 7:45pm
The 2015 budget calls into question the ability of the government to meet minimum and inadequate 2020 pollution reduction goals, and fails to build a bridge to a modern, cleaner economy, said The Climate Institute tonight.
"This budget is a continued assault on climate and clean energy programs and institutions. This budget locks in the benefits that polluters now have to continue polluting for free, while loading up taxpayers and a supposedly stressed budget with the task of paying for emissions reductions,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.
“The government’s primary pollution policy tool, the Emissions Reduction Fund, is likely to require a massive final year unless the average carbon price paid in the first auction plummets. At that price, the combined effort of five years must be repeated in the final year.”
If the around $1.6 billion forecast to be spent in the Fund’s first five years to mid-2019 is spent at the $13.96 average carbon price only 115 million tonnes of pollution reductions is achieved. The government recently estimated that it would require an extra 236 million tonnes reduction by 2020 to achieve the minimum reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000.
Connor said: “This budget also represents a disappointing dedication to the demolition of independent climate and clean energy agencies and programs."
“While the Climate Change Authority is given a welcome lifeline of an extra year till end 2016, it remains on the chopping block longer term, along with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency."
“All of these agencies provide significant value for taxpayers, credible independent advice and support for economic innovations crucial for a modern, smart and clean economy."
“And while the budget boosts commitments for drought and disaster funding, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility is added to the list of climate and clean energy agencies to be wound up in 2017. Just as CSIRO and others tells us that we are experiencing rising climate impacts, we will need the work of organisations like these more than ever.”
“The government risks falling short of 2020 emission reduction goals widely regarded as inadequate let alone have any credible post 2020 bridge to a modern, clean economy able to help with the internationally agreed goal of avoiding two degrees warming.”
“This budget, the continued assault on the renewable energy target and the loophole ridden proposed pollution ‘safeguard’ mechanism, strands the government well short of policies needed to achieve the modernisation and decarbonisation of the Australian economy,” concluded Connor.
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Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, 02 8239 6299