Contributed by Jim Hayes
When Energy Minister Angus Taylor went to Madrid, at the head of the Australian delegation to the COP25 meeting in the Spanish capital, he found that it is not going to be smooth sailing.
The Morrison government has argued that this is not true. It turns out that it is hoping to make it look like it is achieving the target on paper at least, by using some creative accountancy. Perhaps they should consider some carbon emissions software instead.
It is not a particularly high target. Just cut to 27 percent below the 2005 level by 2030. The ambition is to smudge this over by using carryover credits. It goes this way. The credits are used used at a future date, to discount reductions made earlier.
Australia then only has to reduce by 16 percent to make it appear to be on track.
One problem is that if Asutralia continues on the present trend, even this miserable level will not be met.
Another problem is that other countries are not happy, are turning on Australia and are calling for this loophole to be closed.
The carbon credits system came in to help developing countries to ease into carbon reduction more gently than developed countries. It is a means to share out the burden. But Australia, which is a developed nation, has abused the system. No one else is doing this, and it leaves Australia open to flack from other nations.
This is already coming.
It is likely that there will be negotiation between nations for a solution that will stop this sort of abuse.
Pressure will be put on Australia to lift the game, and to come somewhere near meeting the advice of the governmentТs own Climate Change Authority, which has suggested that AustraliaТs fair share would be between 40 and 60 percent below the 2000 level.
Unabashed, the Australian representatives have gone to Madrid armed with ome more creastive accounting, in the shape of latest quarterly report, which does show a slight reduction in carbon emissions, due to the unprecedented scale of the bushfires having caused a sharp fall in agricultural output, which is one of the major sources of emissions.
The reduction is therefore not due to the government’s policy nor part of the longer term trend. This part will not be mentioned, ensuring the truth is distored again, through another exercise in creative accountancy.
Angus Taylor and his team plan to use this data to try and convince others that they are working to make significant progress.
No one is really going to be fooled.
The scam is being played out in AustraliaТs name, and if it goes on long enough, it could invite other nations punish Australia for it. All because of the Australian governmentТs symbiotic relationship with the fossil fuel industry.
It will only be put a stop to when enough Australians draw the line and say no more, and push through a plan consistent with AustraliaТs fair share of the effort.