2019 Federal Budget: Energy and Climate

Climate policy – state of play

Associate Professor David Byrne was asked by Pursuit to look at Australia’s 2019 Federal Budget in the context of energy and climate policy. He says it will be a central battle ground in the upcoming federal election.

If there was any mention of energy and climate, it related to new emergency response funding for regional Australia in responding to drought and flood.

But the bottom line is that Australia isn’t on track to meet its Paris Climate commitment of a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions off 2005 levels. We are projected to achieve a seven per cent reduction, and the budget on Tuesday night offered little to suggest we can change course.

The A$2 billion pre-budget investment in a Climate Solutions Package, which will expand upon the Emissions Reduction Fund, is what the Coalition is proposing to fight climate change with. But the evidence from the aggregate impact of the ERF on emissions suggests it won’t put us on a trajectory to meet our Paris targets.

Labor, in stark contrast, has outlined an extensive climate policy plan that involved various big-ticket policy proposals, including implementing the Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee, an increased emissions reduction target of 45 per cent off of 2005 levels, credits for industry for reducing their carbon footprint (and penalising those who over-pollute relative to their baselines), having half of new car sales being electric vehicles by 2030, and investments to modernise the energy grid.

All of this set-ups climate policy as being a central battle ground between the Coalition and Labor in the upcoming federal election.

For the voter, the divide between the parties when it comes to Coalition’s focus on tax and surpluses, and Labor’s focus on climate policy, might come down to this: would you rather leave your children with a smaller federal debt or a worldwide climate crisis.

This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.