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AUS$ 4 billion funding gap in Australian Coalition climate plan

Oilfield Technology,

According to a recent article published in The Guardian, Tony Abbott must find at least another AUS$ 4 billion for his climate policy, Direct Action, otherwise he will be forced to break his pledge to cut emissions by 5% by 2020 and instead allow them to increase by 9%.

The Coalition has insisted that it will provide no more than the AUS$ 2.5 billion it has allocated to purchase emissions reductions from polluters. However, a report issued by the Climate Institute suggests that at least AUS$ 4.07 billion more will be required to meet their target.

Tony Abbott has refused to accept the findings, saying that ‘Greg Hunt [the Coalitions climate spokesman] is confident, as am I, that we can purchase sufficient emissions from the funding envelope we have provide’.

Abbott additionally outlined his belief that buying emissions reductions on the international market would amount to Australia ‘shirking [their] environmental duty’.

He has repeatedly condemned Labor’s carbon price plan because it allows the purchase of a proportion of emission reductions overseas, which means although emissions would be significantly lower domestically than if nothing was done, they would still be higher in 2020 than they were in 2000.

Despite Abbott’s protests, the evidence indicates that the Coalition’s current capped spending on their climate policy will result in 40% less domestic emission reduction than Labor’s.

Under Labor’s plan domestic emissions would fall by 287 million t of CO2. In contrast, under Direct Action domestic emissions would fall by 204 million t.

The only way the Coalition could meet the 2020 target without massive new spending would be to copy Labor’s policy and purchase permits overseas.

Furthermore, while Labor’s scheme would reduce Australia’s reliance on coal fired power over time, under the Coalition’s plan it would increase.

Under Labor, coal fired power would account for an estimated 61% of electricity generation in 2020, 53% in 2030 and 31% in 2050. However, under the Coalition plan, which makes it voluntary for polluters to reduce emissions, coal fired power would be 64% of electricity in 2020, 66% in 2030 and 69% in 2030.

The Coalition’s policy represents an effective subsidy of AUS$ 50 billion for polluting industries in 2020, according to analysis.

The Climate Institute have additionally raised concerns that a program based on annual budget outlays is always susceptible to budget cuts, especially since the Coalition has said that it will review and possibly revise Direct Action in 2015.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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