Last week the federal government released much awaited consultation papers on the safeguard mechanism for the Emissions Reduction Fund and Australia's post-2020 emissions reduction targets. Business and advocacy groups have the opportunity to provide comments by late April.
The post-2020 targets will be established mid-year and will set Australia's position to the UNFCCC ahead of the Paris conference in December. Other major economies, like the US and Europe, have already flagged ambitious targets in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.
Commentators have criticised the governmet's approach as being tricky in its accounting, because it references 2005 as the baseline year for target setting. They say the government's proposed target would lead to a rise of global temperature at four degrees rather than keeping it below two degrees, as agreed by the UN.
Australia's final 2020 target will have an impact on Australian businesses because domestic policies need to meet the international commitments.
The safeguard mechanism is designed to ensure that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by government payments under the Emissions Reduction Fund aren’t lost through rises in emissions elsewhere. It will apply to about 140 large businesses with direct emissions of more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2-e.
The proposed mechanism is complicated and like the rest of the Direct Action package, is seen by leading scientists and economists as unlikely to achieve what it sets out to do.
So we've already started work on at least one submission. Let u sknow if you need a hand wih yours. Submissions on both consultation papers are due before the end of April.