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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Federal Climate Policy: An Illusion of Action

In the world of climate policy, governments like making announcements. The latest buzz? The "Future Made in Australia Policy" announced by Prime Minister Albanese which champions development of Australia's local renewable energy capabilities. Superficially, it's a win, but let's scratch beneath the surface.


Strengths of the Policy


This new policy is not just window dressing; it has substantial merits. By establishing local production of renewable technologies, Australia can cut its domestic carbon emissions, foster economic resilience, and build a future renewable export industry. The policy can leverage our potential to become a renewable energy superpower and compete with other industrialised countries like the US and China. As we pivot away from a fossil-dependent future, it can help create jobs and enhance our energy security.


The Overshadowing Realities


However, there’s a colossal but. As the Albanese Government pats itself on the back for its domestic strides, Australia's exported emissions from coal and gas are a gigantic elephant in the room. In 2023, Australia's domestic emissions were approximately 466 million tonnes. In stark contrast, emissions from Australia's exported coal were almost double this. At 897 tonnes, our exported coal emissions are more than the total emissions of the world's fifth largest economy, Germany. Gas exports are also huge and set to explode with our government supporting multiple new projects. In a nutshell, Australia's international fossil-fuel expansionism is more than offsetting any gains that we might make from the Future Made in Australia Policy. The climate doesn't care where emissions occur. Just the total volume of CO2 in the atmosphere. So we're kidding ourselves if we think that we can get domestic emissions down and keep exporting emissions.

Commitments under the Future Made in Australia Policy are also swamped by the massive subsidies Australia continues to pour into fossil fuels. $1 billion announced under the Policy for the Solar Sunshot Program, for example, compares to over $11 billion each year in fossil fuel subsidies. This is a huge contradiction in the government's approach to climate action. If we want to reduce fossil fuels we should be taxing them not subsidising them.


So what does all of this mean? Essentially, while Australia is fortifying its own defences against climate change, the emissions from our exported fossil fuels are more than canceling out these gains. The other major contradiction is that the government continues to refuse to consider climate change in environmental impact assessments made under our national environment legislation, the EPBC Act. These stark contrasts raise questions about the sincerity and effectiveness of our government's climate commitments.


It's high time for coherent and credible climate policy. We need a strategy that aligns our domestic policies with our international actions and responsibilities. As well as investing in domestic renewable energy capacity, we must urgently phase out fossil fuel exports and subsidies, cease native forest logging and establish a climate tigger in the EPBC Act.

Photo from Albo's Twitter feed.

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3 commentaires


Jens Svensson
Jens Svensson
30 avr.

How do we keep up with how the money for the "Future Made in Australia Policy" is spent or wasted ? Australia already has a solar manufacturing facility in Adelaide, battery manufacturers in Queensland and a truck conversion company Janus Electric that all should be assisted before starting up new ventures.

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Beth Noel
Beth Noel
30 avr.

Thanks for always scratching the surface to help us understand

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Gregory Andrews
Gregory Andrews
08 mai
En réponse à

You're welcome Beth

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