A group of international experts has criticised the federal government for not being ambitious enough on climate policy and its continued support of coal.
In an analysis of G20 countries’ transition to being low-carbon economies ahead of this week’s summit in Germany, Australia’s performance was rated “low” despite slight improvements.
“Australia has made some progress in supporting the deployment of renewable energy schemes and enhancing energy efficiency, particularly in the residential sector,” says Climate Transparency’s 2017 Brown to Green report, released on Monday.
“However, experts claim this is insufficient given Australia’s high emissions and its large potential for the deployment of renewables.”
It warns Australia will fall well short of meeting its proposed Paris Agreement targets – a reduction in emissions of 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 – based on existing policies.
Of particular concern is the reversing trend of falling carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations after the carbon tax was repealed in 2014.
“As a consequence, emissions from electricity production, which had been covered by the scheme, are rising again while the federal government continues to create political uncertainty on the future of renewable energy,” the report says.
On the bright side, after a year of record investment and with coal on the decline, it notes Australia is gearing up to maintain its renewables target and also ensure grid stability through increased storage.
But with 35 per cent of its energy supplied by coal in 2014, Australia still has one of the highest coal shares in the G20. G20 countries account for 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.