Carbon emissions: Australia’s energy minister dismisses call for tougher limits on polluters

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is engaged on securing help from the Liberal Get together’s rural associate, the Nationals, to again a goal of web zero by 2050 and probably a extra formidable goal for 2030 than Australia’s current pledge to chop emissions by 26-28% from 2005 ranges, forward of the UN local weather convention in Glasgow.

But, the Enterprise Council of Australia — which represents the nation’s largest corporations together with miners, gasoline and energy producers — mentioned over the weekend that emissions reductions of as much as 50% beneath 2005 ranges by 2030 might be achieved with huge advantages for the financial system.

Addressing an power and local weather convention on Monday, Power Minister Angus Taylor swiftly shot down the council’s advice that the federal government strengthen its “Safeguard Mechanism” by requiring companies that emit greater than 25 million tonnes a 12 months to purchase carbon offsets, in contrast with the present threshold of 100 million tonnes a 12 months.

Analysis: Australia's climate policy is being dictated by a former accountant in a cowboy hat

The Safeguard Mechanism and the carbon offset market units Australia’s carbon worth, which final week rocketed to a document excessive, however was nonetheless lower than one-third the carbon worth within the European Union, which has a lot stricter emission limits.

“A considerable tightening of the Safeguard Mechanism is a backdoor carbon tax customers will finally must pay for, and that is not acceptable,” Taylor mentioned at convention organized by the Australian Monetary Overview.

Australia is the world’s fourth largest power exporter, and Taylor mentioned the federal government’s primary aim was to guard key industries, together with gasoline, coal, heavy manufacturing and agriculture, whereas additionally selling hydrogen, carbon seize and storage and soil carbon to chop emissions.

The federal government would stick with offering incentives to chop emissions slightly than punishing polluters, he mentioned.

“Which means avoiding express carbon taxes or backdoor pathways to a carbon tax — sneaky carbon taxes.”

Taylor’s speech got here the identical day that Australian billionaire Twiggy Forrest, an outspoken critic of the federal government’s power insurance policies, introduced he would construct the world’s largest electrolyzer manufacturing unit in Australia to additional his ambition to provide inexperienced hydrogen.

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