Australia is well off track to meet its 2030 greenhouse emissions target, but will use an accounting trick to play catch-up.
The latest emissions projections released on Friday by the environment department show Australia is projected to emit 563 megatonnes (Mt) of climate pollution in 2030.
The lowest point of ambition for Australia’s Paris agreement target — 26 per cent below 2005 levels — is equivalent to 442Mt in 2030.
While electricity-sector emissions are expected to ease by 34Mt over the period, the report projects rises in the areas of direct combustion, transport, fugitive emissions, industrial processes and agriculture.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly said Australia will meet its Paris agreement targets in a canter, but the government’s own emissions projections tell a very different story,” Australian Conservation Foundation’s Matt Rose said.
Electricity makes up 34 per cent of Australia’s emissions, meaning almost two thirds comes from other sources.
Environment Minister Melissa Price said the figures showed Australia would easily beat its 2020 emissions target, allowing it to carry over credit to 2030.
“We have also made significant progress to our 2030 target,” Ms Price said in a statement.
“Since 2008 we have seen a three billion-tonne turn around in the abatement task to achieve our 2030 target and we have seen a 173 Mt, a 20 per cent, reduction on last year’s projections.”
She said taking into account Australia’s over achievement during the first and second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the abatement task to a 26 per cent target in 2030 is reduced to 328Mt.
Greens climate spokesman Adam Bandt said the minister’s comment showed the government planned to “cook the books” in a bid to meet the Paris emissions target.
“So far, the government’s only plan to meet Paris appears to be using dodgy accounting to cook the books and count dodgy ‘carry-over’ credits from Kyoto towards Paris,” Mr Bandt said.
He said other major countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany voluntarily cancelled their Kyoto carry-over credits, and Australia should follow suit.