The latest figures on the nation’s greenhouse emissions, released late on Friday September 28 show that carbon pollution continues to rise. In the twelve months to March 31 2018 total emissions increased by 1.3% from the year before.
What is interesting is the positive spin federal politicians can put this very poor result. The new federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, has claimed that this increase “shows Australia is on track to beat its 2020 emissions target.”
The latest figures for our emissions were 1.9% below the 2000 levels. Our 2020 target is to be 5% lower than the 2000 level. A further indicator is the 2005 emissions level. In relation this level, the 2020 target is to be 11.2 % below the levels in the year to March 2018.
It is astounding that Price can claim we’re “on track” when, even if drastic cuts were possible, it would be extremely unlikely that the target for 2020 could be met. Significant emissions reduction is impossible because the Government has no effective climate policy and its energy policy is a shambles following the dumping of the National Electricity Guarantee (NEG). For Price’s claim to become a reality, something miraculous is obviously going to happen in less than two years!
The Prime Minister is also unjustifiably optimistic about curbing Australia’s emissions given the lack of any effective policies to do so. On September 30, a few days after the new emissions figures were released, he claimed that Australia would reach its 2030 targets “in a canter”. The 2030 targets are the commitment the Australian Government made at the Paris climate summit. That commitment is for a cut of 26% below our 2005 levels.
Emissions have increased every quarter since the end of the carbon price period in 2014. The policies introduced by the Coalition Government following the abandonment of carbon pricing have been ineffective and have obviously failed at cutting emissions. No part of positive political spin by the Prime Minister or his ministers can alter that.
An increasing majority of Australians want effective action on climate change rather than mindless political spin.
- Leonie Blain
This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on October 8, 2018.