Topics: Labor’s failed carbon tax
The Federal Government is using recent emissions figures to argue it’s on track to meet its carbon reduction targets.
It says the figures show the carbon tax was an ineffective policy.
The Environment Minister Greg Hunt, says the latest National Greenhouse Accounts show that under the carbon tax, emissions fell at a fraction of the rate experienced before it was introduced.
Lexi Metherell has been speaking to Mr Hunt.
The latest figures really show two things. Firstly, that we are on track to achieving our targets for our international emissions reduction goals. We’re doing that without a carbon tax and, in particular, the rate of emissions reduction during the two years of the carbon tax was one-sixth only of the rate of emissions reduction in the half decade beforehand.
And it then comes at a $5,310 per tonne cost. So an ineffective system, highly expensive; we’re going to achieve our targets in any event, and I think that’s a very clear message to Australians that we did the right thing. We’re doing the right thing internationally and we can achieve our targets without a massively expensive, more than $5,000 a tonne tax.
When you talk about achieving our targets though, you’re referring to the cutting of emissions by 5 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020.
But isn’t the commitment actually to cut by up to 25 per cent if there’s international action and we have seen strong commitments from the United States and China?
Well what we’ve seen of course, and we welcome this from the United States and China, is commitment for the post-2020 period and there are really two stages.
Firstly there’s the period from 2000 to 2020, and Australia will be one of the countries that achieves its goals. We are one of the small number of countries that have actually not just achieved our first round of Kyoto goals, but well and truly surpassed what we committed internationally.
The third round, after the 2020 period, we’ll obviously assess what we’ll do there, but we’re now in a strong position to be able to contribute our share.
So effectively you’re saying though that the action that the rest of the world has taken is not sufficient for Australia to increase its target to higher than 5 percent, is that right?
No I won’t pre-empt the Paris conference where we’ll look at both the period to 2020 and beyond, but at the present time, our goal is very clearly the minus 5 per cent. That equates, if you use the same basis as the United States, to a minus 12 per cent on 2005 to 2020 goals and timeframes.
So that’s a significant objective which we’re achieving.
Analysis that climate advocates point to shows that in fact Direct Action will see emissions rise not fall. And they also argue that, under the carbon tax, emissions were reduced by 40 million tonnes in the industrial sectors that it targeted.
Well the actual national inventory I think puts the lie to some of the claims from the ALP and the Greens. There’s no arguing with the figures. These are the national figures, but they’re also the international figures which are submitted to the United Nations.
There’s no debate; there’s no denying that during the carbon tax era emissions fell at one-sixth the rate of the pre-carbon tax era.
The Environment Minister Greg Hunt, speaking there to Lexi Metherell.