Approvals for increased industrial emissions set to drive national emissions

Energy and emissions advisory firm, RepuTex, has produced a report showing that nearly 60 high emitting industrial facilities in Ausralia that come under the Safeguard Mechanism of the Emissions Reduction Fund have been given permission to increase their baseline emissions, potentially driving national emissions growth through to 2030.

The safeguard mechanism, which started on 1 July 2016 under the control of the Clean Energy Regulator, requires Australia’s largest emitters to keep emissions within baseline levels. However, emitters can apply to have these baseline levels increased.

The report found that, as of 25 January 2018, 57 industrial facilities, across 48 companies, have been given permission to increase their emissions baselines under the safeguard mechanism, potentially allowing an additional 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2/e) increases per annum.

“Reported baselines therefore act as a limit in name only, with companies largely free to ‘choose their own cap’, with no penalty or requirement to offset emissions increases.“

'The safeguard mechanism is therefore ineffective in limiting industrial emissions growth, with emissions from Australia’s largest industrial facilities projected to reach 30 per cent above 2005 levels by 2030, an increase of 16 per cent since the commencement of the scheme.

'This will see covered industrial emissions surpass the electricity generation sector as Australia’s largest emitting sector in the mid-2020’s.

'With electricity sector emissions on a downward trend, emissions growth from large industrial facilities represent a growing problem for policymakers, with the scale of unconstrained emissions increases from industry to erode the progress of other schemes – such as the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) or Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) – towards meeting Australia’s 2030 target.'

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