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The federal Climate Policy Review: a recipe for business as usual

Rebecca Pearse writes in The Conversation (20.12.17) that the federal government’s keenly awaited review of Australia’s climate policies continues a longstanding bipartisan traditional of weak policy development in this area.

‘The federal government’s newly released Climate Policy Review is hugely disappointing, but far from surprising. It does not depart from what the Turnbull government has been saying for some time: it plans to loosen compliance obligations for emissions-intensive companies even further, reintroduce international carbon offsets, and implement the planned National Energy Guarantee.

‘The review was first announced November 2016, when Australia ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, committing it to a 2030 emissions target of 26-28% below 2005 levels. A year later, the final report claims that Australia is on track to meet this target with its existing climate change policies.

‘The review indicates plans to keep the Emissions Reduction Fund, a A$2.55 billion pot of public money from which companies can bid for funding to implement emissions reductions. But it does not promise new funding beyond the existing A$2.55 billion, nor does it address ongoing problems with the scheme.

‘The Climate Policy Review is also not surprising because it continues a longstanding, bipartisan tradition in weak climate policy formulation. It echoes four enduring features of Australia’s ineffective climate policy since the 1990s. We can think of them as a recipe for business as usual.’

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