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Up in smoke: How Albanese will make Queensland's new emissions policy obsolete


Queensland’s newly minted climate change policy would become obsolete under a Federal Government’s proposal to lift the emission reduction targets to 40 per cent by 2030, according to environmental groups.

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The Albanese Government on Tuesday released draft reforms for its emission targets under what is known as the Safeguard Mechanism, which proposes that more than 200 of the country’s biggest emitters of climate change gases, such as coal mines, reduce their emissions by 4.9 per cent a year to 2030.

The effect of the reforms would mean the economy-wide target would be 43 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

According to the Queensland Conservation Council this would make the state’s 30 per cent target obsolete.

The state’s target has been under fire previously because it was considered too low and was not increased when the Government released its energy plan last year.

But the Federal Government’s plan was also likely to face a fight from the Greens, who see the prospect of companies being able to trade off emissions through offsets as unworkable and the Opposition, which has predicted higher costs for households.

The State Government has said it would have to take any policy from the Federal Government into consideration but QCC energy strategist Clare Silcock said the Safeguard Mechanism meant the Palaszczuk Government’s 30 per cent target was meaningless.

“There is no excuse for the Queensland Government not to update its dangerously out-of-date emissions target to 60 per cent by 2030 and provide climate leadership,” Silcock said.

That was based on what she said was analysis from Accenture and commissioned by QCC, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, that showed cuts of that magnitude would be achievable while creating about 90,000 jobs.

“We also need the Federal Government to make sure that the 4.9 per cent decrease proposed each year through the Safeguard reform doesn’t rely on unfettered junk offsets.

“Australia’s carbon credit market needs a serious overhaul.”

The Albanese Government also intends to include carbon credit trading scheme capped at $75 a tonne.

A review of the carbon credit market by former chief scientist Ian Chubb, released this week, backed up the need for reforms, but said the market was essentially sound.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon indicated the State Government has not shut the door on adjusting its emissions policy.

“We have always said  we could do more on climate change with a Federal Government that is prepared to join us in doing the work,” Scanlon said.

“Our recently announced $62 billion Energy and Jobs Plan will cut emissions from the state’s largest emitting sector by 90 per cent and see no regular reliance on coal by 2035.

“We are working through the impact of that the Energy Plan, other sectoral plans and the recent Safeguard Mechanism announcement by the Commonwealth will have on Queensland’s emissions.”





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