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Letter to the editor: Coalition’s climate record

Opinion Piece

Date : 20 January 2018

Author: The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

Publication: THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD AND THE AGE

Your editorial, “Dismal record on climate change” (January 19), was a misleading account of Australia’s emission reduction performance and one which ignored some inconvenient truths.

Australia’s emissions today are the lowest on a per capita and GDP basis in 28 years. Renewables investment is the highest on record. Absolute emissions in the last quarter came down in the electricity sector by 1.8 per cent and across the economy by 0.6 per cent, the biggest quarterly drop in the last four years.

Since Labor left office, our economy and population has grown strongly by $200 billion and 1.5million people, but despite the increases in consumption, production and exports that this growth brings, the emissions intensity is decreasing significantly.

In fact, so much so that the latest data indicates we’ll overachieve our 2020 target by 294 million tonnes, a 30 per cent or 70 million tonne improvement on the year prior. When one considers one million tonnes of carbon abatement is the equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road for a year, this is substantial.

Contrary to the claim in the editorial, we do not need to count the 128 million tonne surplus from the first Kyoto period to achieve our 2020 target, on the current numbers we can achieve it without it. As for the 2030 target, the abatement task ahead of us has fallen 122 million tonnes over the year and around 60 per cent in the past two years.

When it comes to climate change and reducing our carbon footprint, nobody underestimates the task. This is why the Turnbull government is pursuing significant domestic initiatives like the National Energy Productivity Plan, the Emissions Reduction Fund and successfully passed legislation last year to phase out hydrofluorocarbons. The Coalition’s goal has always been and will continue to be to meet our international commitments to reduce emissions while ensuring Australia’s international competitiveness, jobs growth and energy security and affordability is maintained.

Josh Frydenberg

Minister for the Environment and Energy

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