Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of the 210 mines, smelters, refineries and other facilities covered by the Morrison Government’s climate safeguards exceeded their polluting limits in 2018-19, analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has revealed.
ACF’s analysis of data released by the Clean Energy Regulator found the facilities purchased only $863,860 worth of carbon credits in 2018-19, while companies avoided paying around $10.3 million in carbon credits, meaning they effectively emitted around 729,000 tonnes of climate pollution without charge.
“This is one of the key policies the Morrison Government relies on to cut Australia’s climate pollution,” said ACF climate change program manager Gavan McFadzean.
“Alarmingly, the Morrison Government’s so-called safeguards are not curbing the emissions of the big polluters that are fuelling climate damage in Australia.”
In 2018-19 the number of facilities using the multi-year monitoring method for dealing with excess emissions nearly doubled, from 17 to 31.
“Multi-year monitoring is a problem because companies that exceed their emissions limits in one year don’t have to buy carbon offset credits to compensate and in many cases they are not reducing their emissions in subsequent years but instead are allowed to re-calculate their baselines and pollute more.
“In this reporting period 14 new facilities with excess emissions started using the multi-year monitoring method to reduce or completely avoid penalty for their pollution blowouts.
“Australia desperately needs a climate change strategy that brings down pollution from all sectors of our economy to zero.”