CANBERRA: Sixteen Australian industrial sites have breached government-imposed greenhouse gas emissions limits and had to buy millions of dollars in carbon credits.
The breaches came despite big emitters being granted generous carbon limits, in many cases above their highest previous pollution levels. They were revealed in the first batch of emissions data released under the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism”, part of the Direct Action climate policy introduced by carbon pricing opponent Tony Abbott.
Labor and industry body the Carbon Market Institute both said the use of Australian carbon credit units – mostly created through land-use based greenhouse gas reduction projects – was evidence the country had a carbon market despite the government claiming otherwise.
“The Turnbull government should stop trying to mislead the Australian people and their own backbench,” he said. “[It should] admit that carbon pricing and trading is not only needed to take effective action on climate change, but their ineffective climate change policy also includes carbon trading.” Environment department data shows national emissions have risen each year since 2014. Under their current trajectory, the department projects emissions would be about 2% higher in 2030 than in 2005. The government’s target is a 26% to 28% cut over that time frame; Labor has proposed a 45% cut.
The Carbon Market Institute chief executive, Peter Castellas, said the safeguard mechanism data showed Australia clearly had a functioning carbon market that had been able to meet the demand of businesses that required credits.