SYDNEY – The Australian government maintained that its climate change policies remain effective and sufficient to meet its international commitments, including the Paris Agreement, according to a report published on Tuesday.
“This set of policies, with some adjustments set out below, is the right approach,” the 2017 Review of Climate Change Policies report read.
The government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative coalition maintains that it is on track to meet the 2020 target of a five percent reduction in polluting emissions from 2000 levels.
Australia pledged in Paris to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 to 2030, a target that the government said it will deliver without undermining “jobs and strong economic growth,” according to the document.
The government stressed that the key to its fight against climate change is the implementation of the Emissions Reduction Fund in 2014, which provides incentives to major polluters to reduce their emissions on a voluntary basis.
However, the opposition and environmental organizations accuse the government of defending major polluters, boosting coal fired power generation and delaying the transition to clean energy, particularly after the executive eliminated a controversial tax on pollution emissions due to its effect on energy prices.
On the other hand, the Climate Council, an independent body of experts, called the Australian government’s the efforts to combat the impact of rising greenhouse gases as “shameful,” when another report on pollution emissions was released.
The quarterly update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory revealed a 0.7 percent increase in emissions of polluting gases between July 2016 and June 2017.
“Australia already is on the frontline when it comes to copping the brunt of worsening climate change. There is no escaping the evidence, Australia’s pollution just keeps rising which makes absolutely clear the Federal government is not doing enough,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.
Last week, the environmental consultant NDEVR warned that Australia’s emissions of greenhouse gases in the last year are among the highest recorded since 2011 and that if this trajectory continues, it will not comply with the Paris Agreement.