Australia to Review Climate Policies Throughout 2017

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By Murray Griffin

Dec. 5 — Australia will conduct a sweeping review of climate policy throughout 2017 to make sure it can reach its 2030 target and to consider the need for a longer-term goal.

The country’s existing 2030 target is to reduce emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent below 2005 levels.

Subject to review are a potential post-2030 national emissions goal, possible sector-specific initiatives, the operation of the “safeguard mechanism” that imposes greenhouse gas discharge limits on large emitters, and the potential use of international carbon credits, Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said Dec. 5.

“Energy and climate change policy has been a roller-coaster ride over the last 10 years and most stakeholders, including energy users, have an extreme case of motion sickness,” Andrew Richards, chief executive officer of the Energy Users Association of Australia, said in a Dec. 5 statement welcoming the review and the prospect that it might deliver long-term certainty.

“The federal government’s 2017 climate policy review means next year is a clear opportunity to choose between a credible pathway to net-zero emissions or continue with the climate and energy policy chaos of the last 10 years,” said John Connor, chief executive officer of the Climate Institute, a think tank and advocacy group.

Although the terms of reference lack specifics, there is broad degree of consensus about the measures the review is likely to recommend.

The reference to sector-specific initiatives is widely viewed as indicating the government will favor an emissions intensity-based trading scheme for electricity generators.

There also is widespread expectation that the safeguard mechanism will be tightened and impose emissions limits on large companies to help meet national emissions targets.

More stringent emissions reduction obligations also would make large companies potential buyers of domestic carbon credits, which would allow the government to phase out the taxpayer-funded purchase of credits through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Murray Griffin in Melbourne at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor of this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

For More Information

The announcement for the 2017 review of climate change policies is available at http://bit.ly/2g2G4so.

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