12 May Path to a modern green economy not on drawing board in Australia-Federal Budget 2015
According to the Climate Institute, the 2015 Federal Budget announced tonight (May 12) doesn’t inspire confidence regarding plans for a modern green economy in Australia. According to CEO John Connor, the Budget continued the attacks on both climate and clean energy programs and increased pressure on taxpayers who will have to pay for emissions reductions.
In terms of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Australian Government’s flagship emissions policy tool, Connor warned that unless the average price per tonne that was paid in the first auction fell dramatically (see my earlier blog specifically on the auction), there will be unrealistic pressure on the final year of the Fund to reach the Government’s emissions reduction target. If the approximately $1.6 billion forecast to be spent in the first five years of the ERF is spent at the $13.95 per tonne, only 115 million tonnes of abatement can be achieved, which meant that an additional 236 million tonnes of abatement by 2020 to achieve the Government’s target of a 5% reduction below 2000 levels, Connor stated. He also pointed out that the reprieve handed to the Climate Change Authority (now in place until the end of next year) didn’t give any comfort as to its long term future, which in effect meant that its position was equally as vulnerable as that of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (AREA).
While acknowledging that the Budget gave a boost to drought and disaster funding, John Connor noted that the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility was also vulnerable, having being added to the list of climate and clean energy agencies to be closed in 2017. In his opinion the timing was inopportune given that CSIRO and other prominent organisations are making announcements with regards to the impacts of climate change in Australia.