The crediting of this project is further evidence there are significant structural problems with the emissions reduction fund.

In response to reports about the emissions reduction fund helping Rio Tinto to establish a polluting diesel power supply, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said:

“Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest companies. It is disturbing that it will receive what looks to amount to several million dollars from government climate change programs to switch from burning one fossil fuel to another.

“In public statements Rio Tinto told the Gove community the closure of the oil refinery and switch to diesel generation was commercial. If this is correct, serious questions need to be asked about why this project was publicly funded.

“There is also a question about whether a big polluter should be given public funds for simply complying with the safeguard mechanism.  

“The crediting of this project is further evidence there are significant structural problems with the emissions reduction fund when it allows major industrial companies to receive public money meant for climate action to burn fossil fuels.

“Recently it emerged the owners of the polluting Vales Point coal-fired power plant had managed to get a project registered under the emissions reduction fund and yesterday it was revealed that South African miner Gold Fields won an ERF contract to burn gas under a project that would have gone ahead anyway.

“Industrial and facility methods under the emissions reduction fund that allow major industrial players like Rio Tinto to get this kind of handout must be scrapped and the program fixed.

“Programs like the emissions reduction fund are best focused on encouraging farmers and other small landowners to cut emissions and restore the landscape. Big miners like Rio Tinto, and large corporations, should be required to cut their emissions by other means.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.