Doubt thrown on Paris task
Authorities say the new national emissions plan could make it tough for some major industries.
The National Energy Guarantee outlined last week requires the electricity sector - which generates a third of Australia's carbon emissions - to cut their emissions by 26 per cent by 2030.
As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Australia has signed up to reduce its national emissions by 26 per cent overall by 2030.
ClimateWorks Australia head Anna Skarbek says that unless electricity producers make much bigger reductions, other sectors agriculture and transport could be forced to make deeper cuts.
“If you don't achieve deep emissions reductions in the electricity sector, a major strengthening of policy will be needed for the other sectors where there is less momentum currently,” Ms Skarbek said.
“For example, stronger action would be needed in transport, buildings, industry and land.”
There is no word yet from the Federal Government about what will be required of farming, construction, trucking and other industries.
The Opposition and the Greens both wants the energy sector to do more.
Their view is backed by research from the Australia Institute which found the electricity sector would need to cut up to 55 per cent of its emissions to most effectively help Australia meet the Paris target.
NXT senator Nick Xenophon wants the Government to explain the expectations on other sectors.
He suggested specific measures in the agriculture sector, like ‘soil farming’ for example, could be part of a “smartly designed scheme” that boosts regional development.
Senator Xenophon said the current plan does not adequately protect jobs.
“There doesn't seem to be a plan to deal with the immediate critical need to deal with job losses that industry has been warning about,” he said.
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simpson said the industry knows climate change is a significant challenge for famers.
“There is a great opportunity for the agriculture sector to contribute to our emissions reduction efforts, but we need the policy settings that will enable the agriculture sector to contribute to our national emissions reduction task, maintain our international competitiveness and reach our potential of a $100 billion industry by 2030,” Ms Simpson said.
“We'd like to see government policies encourage investment in agriculture research, development and extension of climate smart practices and technologies that concurrently reduce emissions and improve productivity and profitability.
“These will be adopted by farmers as it makes business sense to do so, and in time will drive down the emissions resulting from agriculture production.”