Australia Institute wants to review the Emissions Reduction Fund

Australia’s $ 4.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund was set up to reduce pollution, but a new report reveals it fails to do so – and even worse.

Australia’s $ 4.5 billion emissions reduction fund has failed to cut emissions and requires urgent overhaul to avoid wasting billions of extra public money, a new report says.

The Australia Institute report said evidence showed the scheme – the country’s only climate policy in place – was maintaining or even facilitating the rise in emissions.

The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) offers incentives for businesses to reduce the greenhouse gases they produce. Those who participate in the voluntary program earn carbon credits for every ton of emissions cut or stored. The credits can then be sold to the government or the private sector.

But the Australia Institute said the scheme was never designed to support the full weight of Australia’s climate policy and its foundations began to crumble.

Since the program began in 2015, more than half of the $ 4.5 billion fund has already pledged to purchase just 217 million tons of emissions reductions.

What equal to less than half of Australia’s annual emissions, showing that it was “clearly insufficient”.

Recent research has shown that 80% of existing Australian carbon credits (ACCUs) are also of low integrity.

“The most obvious impact of the current regulatory regime is that billions of dollars of taxpayer money are wasted on ACCUs by projects that provide no effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the report said, released Thursday.

The authors suggested that efforts to rapidly expand ERF over the past two years have also led to disproportionate influence in the industry.

They called for a fully independent review of the ERF to restore confidence in the Australian carbon credit system.

“Australia’s only legislated climate policy, the controversial $ 4.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, is undermined by poor regulation and industry influence,” said Australia Institute Executive Director Ben Oquist.

“Carbon credits with integrity have a role to play in reducing our emissions in areas of the economy that are really hard to break down like agriculture. But shady credits used as offsets are effectively a license to pollute, fueling climate change.

“Instead of using public money to reduce pollution, the Emissions Reduction Fund has become a ready source of cheap, low-quality offsets for highly polluting industries.”

Mr. Oquist said now is the time to correct the decline and ensure the integrity of sustained climate policies.

“We need an urgent overhaul of Australia’s climate policy to restore the integrity of the Emissions Reduction Fund, otherwise we risk wasting billions more taxpayer dollars on hot air – useless credits that don’t reduce emissions,” he has declared.

“We cannot afford to waste the next decade as we did the last.”

The report, An Environmental Fig Leaf: Restoring Integrity to the Emissions Reduction Fund, will be presented Thursday morning at the Smart Energy Conference in Sydney.

Originally published as “We risk wasting billions”: Australia Institute report calls for urgent review of the Emissions Reduction Fund

Read related topics:Climate change