By Glen Klatovsky, 350 Australia Acting CEO
The ALP has made its major climate change policy announcements today in the lead-up to the election being called.
So, what are they offering?
It is a mixed bag to be honest. There are some excellent policies and some massive omissions. Below is a brief overview of the major elements from the perspective of 350 Australia. We would love to hear your thoughts – just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transport emissions are the fastest growing source of emissions in Australia.
The ALP has committed to ensuring that 50% of all new car purchases in 2030 are electric vehicles. This is a transformative policy. It is interesting that the NRMA, Australia’s largest body representing vehicle owners, thinks this policy is not ambitious enough.
- There will be major public investment in the infrastructure required by electric vehicles.
- New vehicle emissions standards, long overdue.
- The ALP will not use carry-over Kyoto credits to help meet the national targets under the Paris Agreement.
- The extension of the government’s “Safeguard Mechanism” to ensure 250 of Australia’s biggest polluters have to cap their emissions.
- Restoring some important climate change institutions including the Climate Change Authority and the Climate Ambassador.
- Good incentives for households to shift to solar with batteries.
- Stated intent to have greater control over land clearing.
Australia’s coal exports equate to twice as much carbon pollution as our entire domestic emissions.
The ALP has made no commitment to deal with the number one issue – the fact we are a “carbon bomb” country, not only consuming vast amounts of fossil fuel energy domestically but exporting more coal and LNG than any other nation. In fact, the ALP barely mentions coal and fails to mention gas at all in the policy announcements today.
- There was no commitment to #StopAdani.
- There was no mention of the necessary transition from coal and gas to renewables.
- The ALP will allow international carbon credits to be used by business to meet their obligations under the extended Safeguard Mechanism.
- There was no mention of climate adaptation required to deal with the impacts of climate change we are already experiencing.
In order to deliver on the 1.5 degree warming maximum agreed to in Paris, our targets need to be substantially higher.
The ALP continues to be committed to a goal of a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, which is substantially better than that of the current government (26-28%) but well below what is needed.
The ALP is also committed to ensuring that 50% of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030, but we are already on track to exceed that target without further policy support. The party could be far more ambitious.
The Safeguard Mechanism has far too many exemptions, creating greater burdens on those who are exposed and providing, in effect, incentives for some sectors.