WWF-Australia says the finalised Emission Reduction Fund “safeguards” released today will compromise Australia’s efforts to limit dangerous levels of global warming and undermines the $2.55 billion being spent on pollution reduction projects.
The “safeguard mechanism” is supposed to prevent carbon pollution from growing across the economy by putting in place limits on the emissions of 140 of the country’s largest polluters.
However, the current design - which covers only about 50% of the economy - has so much leeway built in that we are likely to see emissions continue to grow.
“Rather than making businesses accountable for their own pollution, the new rules will allow pollution to grow,” said Kellie Caught, WWF-Australia’s National Manager - Climate Change.
“Australian tax payers deserve rules that ensure their money is being used to effectively cut pollution rather than going up in smoke.
“Large polluters will be allowed to set their baseline at the company’s highest level of pollution over a five year period,” Ms Caught said.
“Big polluters will also be given the flexibility to increase their baseline over time and avoid penalties for increasing pollution.
“There are no provisions for baselines to decline over time and reduce Australia’s pollution, which should be the ultimate goal.
“Today’s news that a global coral bleaching event has begun, which will hit the Great Barrier Reef next year, is another signal that we must act now on climate change.
“We urge the Government to scrap the settings announced today and sit down with Industry and environment groups to develop a long-term plan that will provide investment and environmental certainty to cut Australia’s carbon pollution and build a cleaner more sustainable future for future generations.”
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, 0400 985 571