Carbon price “could take emissions back to 2000″
The Federal Government’s carbon pricing regime has the potential to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to year 2000 levels by 2020, according to non-profit organisation ClimateWorks.
Anna Skarbek, the executive director of ClimateWorks, told the CPA Australia Congress in Sydney last week that the carbon price and the complimentary measures would “more than double” the range of profitable low carbon opportunities for Australian business and households.
“If the package is implemented in a sensible way, then we could achieve three-quarters of the bi-partisan emissions reduction target, before undertaking any complimentary measures,” she said.
At the CPA Congress, Skarbek presented modeling from ClimateWorks – funded by Monash University and the Myer Foundation – which showed that through implementing a range of further low carbon opportunities, Australia”s emissions could be slashed by another 25 percent on 2000 levels.
“A lot of these opportunities are good in themselves,” said Skarbek.
“They help lower energy costs, improve productivity on the farm and lower the cost of living for households.
“The carbon price will mean that in many cases it will now become economically attractive to do the thing which creates less emissions rather than more.”
Many of the gains would come through “low hanging fruit” which would become available through simple measures such as more ambitious mandatory efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings, appliances and equipment.
However, each year of delay would increase the cost of meeting Australia’s targets.
“From 2010 to 2011, Australia has gone backwards towards its 2020 targets,” said Skarbek.
She said that even in one year, the level of abatement needed to reach the 2020 emission reduction target had increased from 249 million tonnes per annum up to 272 million tonnes.
“We have already lost potential savings from not accelerating our energy efficiency,” said Skarbek.
“If we wait until 2015 the costs would increase by a further $5.5 billion a year by 2020.”
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