Australia’s climate action plan to cut emissions is a $10 billion bill, a new study has found.
The Commonwealth Bank study, released on Thursday, found that without action to slow climate change, Australia’s budget for the year to 2019 would be $18.6 billion lower than forecast by the Commonwealth’s climate change strategy.
“A $10bn shortfall is now forecast for the financial year 2019/20, meaning the government’s climate mitigation target will fall by about $5 billion,” the report said.
“Australia is now one of the most carbon intensive economies in the world, with the carbon intensity of our economy currently the highest in the OECD and at least double that of the US.”
The economic impacts of climate change are substantial, affecting both the health and productivity of Australians, but the costs are disproportionately borne by those living below the poverty line.
“Despite the high cost of mitigation, Australia is one of only a handful of OECD countries that does not impose any carbon price on households or businesses.”
In the past two years, the government has committed to reducing emissions by between 25 per cent and 30 per cent by 2030.
The Australian National University’s climate economist Dr James Cook said that the budget shortfall would hit most of the country hardest, particularly the north-west.
“We’re in the middle of a drought in the north, which means that our agricultural and manufacturing industries will suffer and the cost of doing business is going to be a lot higher,” he said.
“And the impacts will be particularly devastating for the northern states.”
I think what’s really interesting about this study is the degree to which it shows the cost that’s going to fall on the rest of Australia.
“The Commonwealth has said it has identified around $100 billion in carbon offsets, but Dr Cook said the amount was far lower than most estimates.”
They’ve got some $500 billion in offsets already, so we’re talking about an amount that’s only around 10 per cent of what they actually have in their budget, so that’s pretty significant,” he told ABC Radio.
The report also found that the Commonwealth was not meeting its climate target by 2030, and that the government was “only half way to its 2030 emissions reduction target”.”
The government is going out and saying that they’re doing their best, but they’re not doing enough,” Dr Cook told ABC News Breakfast.”
That means that they’ll need to do a lot more.
“But the question that we need to ask ourselves is, are we really going to get to that target?
Are we really prepared to meet it if we’re not prepared to do more?”
The Commonwealth is expected to release its climate action strategy on Thursday.
It comes after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the ABC that Australia could be “lucky” to reach the target.
“It’s a big target, but it’s not going to go down to zero,” he added.
Topics:environment,climate-change,economics-and-finance,environmental-policy,environment-management,government-and/or-politics,government,australiaFirst posted November 16, 2020 08:45:36Contact Sarah BurdettMore stories from New South Wales”
The reality is we’re at a point in time when the world is changing faster than we can adapt, we are not getting the carbon reductions that we want, we’re going to have to do what we need for our children and grandchildren to live in a world that is not as safe as it should be.”
Topics:environment,climate-change,economics-and-finance,environmental-policy,environment-management,government-and/or-politics,government,australiaFirst posted November 16, 2020 08:45:36Contact Sarah BurdettMore stories from New South Wales