The Gillard government has promised that their carbon trading scheme provides a ‘comprehensive plan for securing a clean energy future’. The problem is – it doesn’t! The scheme contains major loopholes which prevent it from addressing the climate crisis by driving the just transition to an equitable low carbon future.
The government claims its scheme will deliver a 5% reduction in greenhouse gases (from 2000 levels) by 2020. Treasury modelling shows that the government plans to achieve this reduction by buying almost 100 MtCO2-e of ‘offsets’ from overseas. The modelling shows that by 2020 domestic emissions in Australia are expected to increase by 12%.
Act now to call on the government to close these massive loopholes in the legislation
The outlook to 2050 is even worse. The government promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. But the Treasury modelling predicts that domestic emissions will only decrease by 2% by 2050, with 430MtCO2-e of international offsets making up the rest of the reduction.
Tell the government this isn’t good enough – we need urgently need to make real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and embark on a just transition to a low carbon society.
The government justifies the use of offsets by arguing that they encourage global emission reductions at the ‘lowest cost’. However, offsets push the cost of climate action onto communities in the Global South while delivering questionable climate benefit.
Avoided deforestation (REDD) projects do not represent real and genuine emission reductions and forest communities are extremely concerned about losing sovereignty over land they depend upon for their livelihoods. Even coal-fired power stations and coal seam gas mines can produce offsets that are eligible for use in the Australian scheme, meaning Australian polluters can avoid emission reductions by subsiding harmful fossil fuel industries in the Global South.
Say no to ‘offsets’ in the Clean Energy Future package which are not environmentally credible and which create unacceptable social impacts on communities in the developing world
The heavy reliance on offsets is a get out of jail free card for the worst polluters in Australia (who paradoxically are getting massive amounts of compensation for doing very little under the scheme). Offsets allow business as usual to continue, which is not acceptable in the face of the climate crisis.
A just transition to a real clean energy future is possible. It requires a halt to coal power, coal mining and gas expansion across Australia, and an end to the trebling of coal exports. We need public investment and support for renewable energy, and a structural transition away from Australian’s fossil fuel dependency.
The heavy dependency on offsets in the Clean Energy Future package undermines actions towards a just transition to a low carbon future.
Sign the petition here to tell the government here that the offset loophole in the legislation has got to go!