The Morrison Government has just announced a ‘Climate Solutions Package’. So, what is it and what does it mean for climate change? Read on for our verdict.
What has the Morrison Government announced?
- The Government will top up the existing Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which was established by the Abbott Government, with $200 million per year over ten years.
- Some additional measures including:
- Energy efficiency measures for business and households including expanding the energy ratings labels system.
- An electric vehicle strategy.
- The promise of a future announcement on Snowy Hydro 2.0.
Image: joelbeeb CC BY-SA 3.0
How does the package stack up?
Ultimately – the Federal Government is doubling down on a bad policy.
Why? Emissions have continued to rise every year for the past four years under the current ERF policy. Pumping funding into a bad policy is like trying to inflate slashed tyres on a bike – a waste of time, effort and money.
Not only that, the ERF is also being used to prop up fossil fuels, with funding going towards a fossil fuel power plant (that would have been built anyway) for one of the world’s biggest gold mines. This is justified on the grounds that the new fossil fuel power plant will be ‘cleaner’ than the one it will replace.
For any climate policy to be credible, it must drive down fossil fuel emissions rapidly and deeply.
These measures will do little to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather and climate events such as the devastating droughts, bushfires and floods felt across the country this summer.
The Australian public wants swift action on climate change, and this announcement is an admission that the Government knows climate change is a vote-changing issue.
The groundswell of support for climate action is now so significant that the Government cannot ignore it.
But, ultimately, the Government’s policy response is not commensurate to the challenge.
Australia’s current emissions reduction target is woefully inadequate. Not only is it extremely weak, but the government’s own projections show that we are not on track to meet them.
No matter how many times the Prime Minister says we are going to meet and beat our target, the reality is that there are no credible policies in place to get us there.
Australians need a climate policy with credibility. One that will rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, especially from highly polluting sectors such as electricity and transport.
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