“Closing Australia’s carbon chasm”: new analysis of the task to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions

22 Nov 2013Archived News Dr Peter Holt Publications

Developed with CDP, this report considers the contribution that Australia’s corporate sector is making towards the achievement of the nation’s greenhouse emission reduction targets for 2020 and beyond.  Companies have a significant influence on Australia’s ability to meet our reduction targets as they are responsible for around three-quarters of our carbon emissions.

While Australia has seen a recent fall in emissions levels, “Closing Australia’s carbon chasm” examines the role of federal and state government programs in providing the policy settings for business to deliver sustained emissions reductions.  It is particularly in the period beyond 2020 where Australia could see its carbon chasm widen. This  presents a risk management issue for business as the "catch up" to meet more aggressive emissions reduction targets carries increased costs and uncertainty for long term investments and major capital projects.

It is clear that a focus on emissions reductions through our climate change policy settings and programs, at both state and federal levels, needs to be maintained and strengthened. 

“Closing Australia’s carbon chasm” is unique  as it analyses CDP information and data from Australia’s mandatory National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGER). The conclusions drawn from this report have clear implications for our government as they design Australia’s new climate change response through the Direct Action framework.  The major findings are:

  • A carbon chasm exists between Australia’s forecast emissions and the emissions cap set by three possible reduction targets of 5%, 15% and 25%. The carbon chasm ranges from 20 – 131 million tonnes CO2-e.
  • Our analysis of the relative contributions being made by emissions reduction programs operating across both federal and state jurisdictions, show that these policy settings were set to deliver 89% of the reductions needed to meet the 5% 2020 target.  Some of those federal programs are expected to remain, however others will be dismantled once a repeal of the Clean Energy Future’s enabling legislation takes place.
  • Direct Action and its centrepiece, the Emissions Reduction Fund, must clearly fill the void as the carbon price is removed.  Furthermore, any delay in its implementation will widen the carbon chasm.  As deeper emissions cuts as required beyond 2020, the cost of “catching up” will be much greater. 

“We call for an end to the uncertainty – for our federal and state governments to identify areas of climate policy where they can achieve bipartisan agreement,” said Tony Cooper, Energetics’ CEO.  “We particularly call for bipartisan support for the development of a pathway to achieve emissions reduction targets beyond 2020.” 

 Download the Executive Summary and Recommendations - Closing Australia's carbon chasm

 Download the full report - Closing Australia's carbon chasm


Read the full report online

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