Data reports by the Department of the Environment has indicated that annual emissions up to June 2014 indicate that it has dropped by 1.4%. This notable decrease was seen within the second full year of the carbon price and is the biggest emission drop observed during the last decade!
The period calculated includes the second 12 months of the carbon price system, implemented by the Federal Government during 2012, though the Coalition has achieved an election pledge to abolish carbon pricing during July 2014.
The reduction of emissions sped up during the 2 year life cycle of the carbon pricing, with the total emissions being reduced by 0.8% within the first year of the pricing system.
Emissions decrease from RET most significant of the decade
Latest data concerning greenhouse gas inventory indicate that emissions from the electricity power sector, which would be the industry affected the most by carbon pricing, fell by 4% during the year to June.
The emissions from the electricity sector make up a third of the country’s total emissions output, standing at 542.6 million tonnes in the year to June, which was down from the 550.2 million tonnes during the past year.
Transport emissions dropped to 0.4%, whereby gasses released by the agricultural industry decreased by 2.6%.
Industrial sectors emitted 1.3% less greenhouse gases throughout the year, while the mining sector saw an increase of 5.1%.
Emissions from the electricity sector peaked during 2008, but have decreased each year at a steady pace, due to the fact that many parts of Australia’s manufacturing base and energy efficiency initiatives have begun to wind down.
Australians upset by Government’s modifications to climate change policy
The statistics indicate to the global economy that carbon pricing was effective in bringing down environmental pollution with the biggest drop ever recorded. Many are upset that the Abbott Government has taken a backward step in scrapping the carbon pricing system, as its effects will have a negative impact on the climate as well as on investment opportunities and job creation.
The policy was working really well and the price did better than expected during the carbon pricing system. Many have predicted that bigger cuts in emissions over a period of time would have been experienced as the price would have created a longer term economic signal as well as evolved investment within the energy sector.
The Coalition on the other hand has implemented an emissions reduction fund, which is a $2.55 billion voluntary project available to companies who wish to reduce their emissions. This fund will begin distribution of cash during the first quarter of 2015.
Climate Change Authority dissatisifed by Government’s Direct Action Plan
The Climate Change Authority maintain that it is “unlikely” this new policy will meet the country’s goal of a 5% overall reduction in emissions by 2020, based on 2000 level. This scepticism was also raised by the UN as well as independent bodies about the Abbott regime.
The Coalition still believe that the carbon price system caused minimal emission cuts at a bigger cost to households and the economy as a whole. The Government is confident in the newly instated emissions reduction fund in saving an average household around $550 annually.
Environment minister Gregory Hunt maintains that the decline in emissions due to the carbon pricing was a direct result of the decline in electricity consumption as many important manufacturing industries under Labor were lost. The electricity consumption downward trend can be seen over the past 5 years including before the implementation of the RET as well as after it was dismantled.
The country is awaiting the next set of quarterly emissions figures to be released, though interim data has indicated that emissions have increased since the scrapping of the carbon price.
Photo by: Global Panorama from Flickr