AGL, Australia’s biggest-emitting power firm, has urged the government to draw up a long-term GHG emission reduction target and set annual caps on emissions to 2020.
The company said in its submission to Australia’s INDC committee that the government must set a 2050 target in line with the global 2C target, and develop a carbon budget to make sure Australia plays its part in meeting that target.
“The Commonwealth should use the national carbon budget as a guide to determining a short term carbon budget, and subsequently derived from that, short term emissions caps from the present until 2020,” AGL said, but did not recommend a specific target.
The government made no mention of the 2C target in its public consultation letter on the INDC.
It also shied away from proposing annual emission caps in its proposals for a safeguard mechanism for the ERF, and made it clear that many companies, especially in the energy sector, would be allowed to increase their emissions in the future.
“Exercising excessive caution in the design of a climate change mitigation strategy that goes part of the way to achieving the desired goals is likely to be economically, environmentally and socially unhelpful at best, and destructive at worst, as it will likely necessitate drastic mitigation activities in the future because of a failure to implement timely, sensible, short and medium term strategies,” AGL said.
It also warned against making Australia’s climate action too dependent on developments elsewhere.
“While the achievement of global climate change goals by definition requires global action, AGL would discourage too much dependency or conditionality between Australia’s climate change goals and those of other countries.”
“Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP are considerably higher than some other comparable countries. Accordingly, Australia is potentially facing greater economic risks as a result of global action to reduce emissions.”
Australia is expected to reveal its emission target for Paris around mid-year.