Freedom of information documents obtained by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) demonstrate that the government is withholding national greenhouse pollution data from as far back as July 2016.
The last Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory was released on 22 December 2016, and at that time two quarters were released together with figures up until the end of June 2016. Since that update, there have been no further quarterly updates provided.
The FOI documents show the government has in its possession data relating to greenhouse pollution up until end of 2016, but is yet to release it.
“Hiding pollution isn’t a solution to the Turnbull government’s paralysis on climate change and energy policy, but it’s exactly what you would do if you knew you were going to fail to meet your international commitments to reduce pollution,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“It speaks volumes about this government’s cavalier approach to global warming.
“It seems Turnbull’s government is so divided and paralysed on climate policy that it will go to extreme lengths to remove global warming entirely from the national debate on energy - including sitting on pollution data.
“We are concerned that pollution continues to rise and the Turnbull government is failing to meet Australia’s Paris commitment to a 2 degree limit on global warming.
“Australia’s climate pollution has been on an uphill trend since the price on pollution was abolished, and despite our Paris commitments, there are no policies in place to make sure we meet even our modest targets.
“Australia’s energy sector is the biggest driver of our pollution. But, rather than focus on reducing pollution, the current debate on energy policy connected to the Finkel report, has all but abandoned climate change.
“It seems climate change is simply a political inconvenience for the Turnbull government. If Malcolm Turnbull is so embarrassed by the results, he should stand up to the coal cheer squad and improve his policies.”
Ndevr Environmental, which has begun to track pollution data against Australia’s carbon budget determined by the Climate Change Authority has published projections for the quarters that are unreleased, stating for the March 2017 quarter that “Emissions from the electricity sector jumped 11% and pushed the quarterly emissions inventory well above the previous quarter”. Available here.
The FOI documents are available on request.