National Energy Guarantee leaves farmers, builders, trucking industry still waiting for their emissions reduction task

November 10, 2017

 

Farmers, builders and the trucking industry might be forced to do extra work to cut greenhouse gas emissions because of the way the National Energy Guarantee is designed.

Key points:

  • To hit its Paris climate agreement targets, Australia has to reduce emissions by 26 per cent overall by 2030

  • The NEG requires the electricity sector to reduce their emissions by that much, but some say they could make bigger reductions

  • They argue this leaves the farming, construction and trucking industries, who are less equipped to cut down on emissions, an impossible task

 

Under the plan announced on Tuesday, the electricity sector — which generates a third of the nation's emissions — has to cut their emissions by 26 per cent by 2030.

But Anna Skarbek, who heads ClimateWorks Australia at Monash University, has argued that electricity producers could make much bigger reductions.

 

Ms Skarbek said if the electricity sector was not asked to cut more, then other parts of the economy like agriculture, which cannot reduce emissions as easily, would be forced to do more.

 

"If you don't achieve deep emissions reductions in the electricity sector, a major strengthening of policy will be needed for the other sectors where there is less momentum currently," Ms Skarbek said.

 

"For example, stronger action would be needed in transport, buildings, industry and land."

 

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has not said what will be expected of other sectors like agriculture and transport.

 

He has told the ABC the Government is reviewing its climate change policies and work is "constantly taking place to reduce emissions through the Emissions Reduction Fund, the National Energy Productivity Plan, the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons and the Renewable Energy Target".

 

Labor's climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the 26 per cent target for the electricity industry would shift the obligation to cut emissions to industries like agriculture and transport.

 

And Greens climate change spokesman Adam Bandt also argued that other parts of the economy would face a harder task if the electricity sector was not asked to do more.

 

"Unless the electricity sector does the heavy lifting, which it is capable of doing, then agriculture, transport and industry will have to massively reduce their pollution," Mr Bandt said.

 

 

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