The state government in South Australia on Wednesday set a target of aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, but rejected a recommendation from a policy review panel to explore a state-based emissions trading scheme linked to California, saying instead the federal government should consider a nationwide ETS.
State Premier Jay Weatherill and SA Environment Minister In Hunter made the announcement as they released recommendations from a low carbon expert panel.
“As we head towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, South Australia has an opportunity to place itself at the forefront as a leader in transitioning to a low carbon economy,” Weatherill said in a statement.
The state is rich on renewable energy sources such as solar, and will use renewables to drive carbon cuts.
But the government did not back a proposal from the panel, consisting of former Liberal party leader John Hewson, ANU professor Frank Jotzo and ClimateWorks’ Anna Skarbek, to explore setting up a state-based ETS and seek to link it to California’s emissions market.
“California has the world’s most well established sub-national ETS and is thought to be actively interested in linking its scheme to other sub-national schemes. A link with South Australia could be politically and economically attractive to California, and provide significant benefits for South Australia,” the panel said.
“Consensus for global action on climate change should be a trigger for the Federal Government to revisit the important issue of a nationwide ETS,” said state Environment Minister Ian Hunter.
“We believe this is the most practical approach to this question and will not seek to implement an ETS at the State level.”
Hunter said in September South Australia was considering a state ETS, potentially linking to New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, but his comments were unceremoniously shot down a week later by Premier Weatherill, who said there were “substantial constitutional barriers” to establishing such a scheme.
In 2012-13, South Australia emitted 32.3 million tonnes of CO2e, down 9% from 1990 levels.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org