Costing reveals $24 billion hole in the government's climate policy
The Australian Greens have released a Parliamentary Budget Office costing that shows an additional $24 billion will be needed for the Emissions Reduction Fund if it is used to meet the government's climate targets.
The government describes the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) as "the central component in the Australian Government's policy suite to reduce emissions."
However, the recent Commonwealth Budget failed to allocate any additional money to the ERF. The ERF is currently estimated to have approximately $300 million in remaining funds.
A costing prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office shows that if the government uses the emissions reduction fund to reduce 1,202 million tonnes of CO2-e required by its 2030 targets, the cost to the Budget could be as much as $23,636 million. The estimated cost over the forward estimates is $559 million.
The government's targets are weak and would need to substantially increase to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees. However, emissions are currently rising under the Turnbull government, increasing 3.4% in the year 2015/16 and overall rising by 7.5% since the abolition of the carbon price.
A review of government climate policy, including the emissions reduction fund, is due to report later in the year.
Comments attributed to Australian Greens climate and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP:
"If the government continues with its current climate policy, there is a gaping black hole in the Budget.
"The Parliamentary Budget Office costing shows that the government needs to find an extra $24b to prop up the Emissions Reduction Fund just to meet its measly climate targets.
"There are serious questions about the Fund and emissions are growing, but if the government wants to retain the Emissions Reduction Fund as the main mechanism to cut pollution, it will cost taxpayers billions.
"To meet its financial forecasts in the Budget, the government either needs to drop the Emissions Reduction Fund or find an unaccounted for $24 billion to fund extra spending.
"The Turnbull government's climate policy is an empty vessel built to appease the Trumps in the Coalition.
"Instead of making big polluters pay for their pollution, like the carbon price did, Malcolm Turnbull shovels public money to the big polluters and the bill to taxpayers has just gone up an extra $24 billion.
"The government should dump Tony Abbott's Emission Reduction Fund and put in place a proper mechanism for cutting pollution, such as a carbon price, and extend the Renewable Energy Target."
PBO costing attached
Media contact: Gideon Reisner, 0429 109 054