Labor’s climate plan can’t fix 12 years of broken politics – but it’s a floor to what’s possible

the job The new climate policy, released on Friday afternoon at the end of the parliamentary year, is impossible to assess without delay against more than 12 years of Australia’s disruptive climate policies – but let’s give it a try.

Yes, Labor lost a series of elections in which it promised to do more than the Climate Alliance and was rewarded with lies and wrong information. Attention will likely turn quickly to whether the opposition’s 2022 plan is electorally viable. fair enough.

But we must start from the first principles: is politics – called run australia – Even the task of tackling the climate crisis? And can it create Australia to thrive in a future that is no longer dependent on fossil fuels?

At first glance, the short answers are (1) no, not on this alone and (2) maybe.

Anthony Albanese’s plan aims to reach the 2030 emissions target while expanding industries that could eventually lead to net emissions cuts by 2050. Unlike the Alliance, it does not Pretend to draw a roadmap to achieve this goal in the middle of the century.

The main emissions target – a 43% reduction by 2030 compared to 2005 levels – would be described by some as a stretch, and Scott Morrison quickly attacked it as bad news for coal and manufacturing regions. But the plan tells a different story.

In fact, it’s a modest goal when measured against what will happen anyway, while still more ambitious than the coalition’s “technology will save us” approach. This, of course, is the goal.

It’s far less than what scientists have found Australia must do if the world is to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, not to mention the 1.5°C target backed by more than 190 countries recently. Glasgow Climate Charter.

many of studies They suggested that Australia should cut at least 50% this decade, and certainly significantly more, to play its part in addressing the crisis. ClimateWorks Australia has found that rapid and deep cuts can be achieved Using mature and available technology.

This is now widely accepted in large parts of the business community. Oddly enough, given the long history of the industry Managing intimidation campaigns against climate policies, the country’s major business groups will now want governments To make deeper emissions cuts than any of the main parties is proposing.

Albanese and climate change spokesperson Chris Bowen confirmed that their plan is based on official government projections that the country will provide. At least 30% reduction even without introducing any new policies. Separated Reviews It found that state government actions – particularly in the largest states, New South Wales and Victoria – would likely raise that somewhere in the mid-1930s to its height if delivered as promised.

He tells us that, before we even get into the details, Labor’s goal is more than achievable, and it should be seen as the groundwork for what is possible.

Albanese’s central claim is that the policy will create jobs – an estimated 64,000 direct and 540 thousand indirect – and reduce electricity bills while promoting renewable energy.

The central driver is previously announced $20 billion off-budget “reconnecting the national company” tasked with modernizing the electricity grid. The introduction of planned new transmission links is intended to allow a faster flow of solar, wind and battery power in regional renewable energy regions. It is also committing $300 million to develop community batteries and shared “solar banks” for homes and businesses that cannot put panels on their roofs.

Anthony Albanese announces Labor's 2030 emissions target - VIDEO
Anthony Albanese announces Labor’s 2030 emissions target – VIDEO

RepuTex Energy and Climate, which designed Labor’s policy, estimates it will result in 82% renewable energy supply by 2030, up from 68% on the current trajectory. Higher prices for cheap clean energy are expected to, on average, reduce electricity bills by $275 by 2025.

Unreasonably, Labor’s plan claims that accelerating the deployment of renewable energy will not lead to the early shutdown of old coal-fired power plants, although experts take Already expect Some may close earlier than scheduled. The idea that coal’s power and functions will continue when electricity is not needed is remarkably difficult to vibrate in Canberra, if not elsewhere.

The biggest new element on Friday — or the revamped old one, given that it was part of Labor’s abandoned 2019 policy — is that Albanese and Bowen plan to use the Alliance Protection Mechanism to cut emissions at major industrial sites.

The protection mechanism was introduced under Tony Abbott with the promise that it would put an end to industrial emissions. In practice, it has failed—companies have consistently been allowed to increase their carbon pollution without penalty, and industrial emissions have risen 17% since 2005 and 7% since safeguards began in 2016. Both industry representatives and climate activists believe it has. Making the scheme a waste of time.

Greg Hunt, the architect of the scheme when he was environment secretary, planned emissions limits under the safeguards to eventually tighten, but the coalition ultimately refused to force the companies to take action. Workers are now promising to do what Hunt has always intended by working with companies to cut industrial greenhouse gases by 5 million tonnes – about 1% of Australia’s total emissions – a year as of 2023.

Combined with direct business funding from a new $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, which will provide low-cost financing for industry to adopt clean solutions, modeling suggests this will reduce emissions by up to 48 million tons per year by 2030. Bowen said Friday He predicted that about 50% of the reductions will come through guarantees through the use of improved technology, and the rest from companies paying for carbon offsets.

The business has some political cover here. Not only does it use existing alliance policy, it has adopted a model released by the Australian Business Council in October. The government was quick to attack it anyway, calling it a “sneaky new carbon tax”.

Albanese doesn’t promise much in the short term to cut emissions from transportation, which was a key area of ​​growth in carbon pollution growth before the Covid-19 lockdowns. He has ditched Labor’s 2019 commitment to a vehicle emissions standard that requires average tailpipe emissions to be lowered over time. It is further evidence of Morrison’s false claim before the last election the ALP had planned “Weekend End” By forcing people to drive electric vehicles, the effect continues.

Instead, Labor is focusing on tax credits for low-emissions cars. Combined with the launch of charging infrastructure, modeling suggests that this will help drive 89% of new car sales and 15% of all vehicles to be electric cars by 2030.

These policies add to the promise of smaller emissions cuts by 2030 than Labor was promising under the Bill Shorten Act less than three years ago, when its goal was to cut emissions by 45%.

From one perspective, this is remarkable, given that the urgency for global action has only increased in the past two years. On the other hand, Labor made a more ambitious emissions pledge than many expected, given domestic concern about yet another News Corp-backed scare campaign.

When asked on Friday for his response to those who say his policy does not meet the demands of climate science, Albanese argued that the new target is roughly the same as Canada’s – another fossil fuel economy – and suggested that the ALP acted responsibly by designing its policies first and then paying for independent modeling. To calculate what they will provide.

Few would argue how to design climate policy if it started from scratch.

What is routinely described as the most efficient way forward – a well-designed carbon price – remains off the table since the alliance Planned operation canceled in 2014. There is no commitment to reduce fossil fuel subsidies or curb government-funded expansion of the gas industry.

Perhaps the main thing in Labor’s favor if it wins next year’s election is that large parts of the business and investment community are now ready to move in a way they never were. People may be surprised at how quickly a 43% emissions cut target can be met, or exceeded, with a government more inclined to support such a push.

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