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Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’

  • May 25 2021
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Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’

By Cameron Micallef
May 25 2021

Changing land use regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought are the only reason Australia is reducing its emissions, with national emissions (excluding land use) having risen by 7 per cent from 2005, new research has revealed.

Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’

Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’

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  • May 25 2021
  • Share

Changing land use regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought are the only reason Australia is reducing its emissions, with national emissions (excluding land use) having risen by 7 per cent from 2005, new research has revealed.

Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’

Despite claims of Australia reducing its emissions, the Morrison government has relied purely on luck while the rest of the world take action on climate change. 

Scott Morrison used his time at last month’s climate leaders summit to hype up Australia’s action on climate change, saying the country has reduced emissions by 19 per cent compared with similar economies.

During the summit, Mr Morrison refused to lay out his plans for reaching net zero emissions, although he said Australia is on the path, with all being revealed in November during the next climate summit.

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“Australia is on the pathway to net zero. Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create, especially in our regions,” the Prime Minister said at the time.

Failing to admit he had no plan, Mr Morrison said net zero won’t be achieved in “wine bars of our inner cities”, instead backing businesses and technological advances. 

“For Australia, it is not a question of if, or even by when, for net zero, but importantly how,” Mr Morrison said.

“That is why we are investing in priority new technology solutions, through our Technology Investment Roadmap initiative.”

Despite claiming Australia is doing “more than similar economies”, new analysis shows Australia’s emissions have increased since 2005 and its emissions trends are among the worst in the developed world.

Instead, the government’s current reduction in emissions over the last 15 years are largely due to two major shocks beyond the government’s control – the drought and the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as historical changes in the amount of CO2 released from the land and forest.

“The Australian government is taking credit for changes in the land sector that have not been impacted by any federal climate policy. By contrast, key allies like the United Kingdom and United States have decreased their net emissions and are exercising real credible climate leadership, Richie Merzian, climate and energy director at The Australia Institute, said.

The Australia Institute noted that when land use, including agriculture, is excluded from analysis, Australia’s emissions have risen by 7 per cent from 2005 to 2018.

“The harsh truth is that the Australian economy has not decarbonised over the last 15 years. This might explain why the Australian government has been so reluctant to commit to a net zero target when the economy is headed in the wrong direction,” Mr Merzian said.

“In the face of increased scrutiny and pressure, and absence of any real climate policy, the Australian government is increasingly relying on accounting tricks that superficially demonstrate a solid performance on climate action,” he continued.

The institute highlighted that Australia has a long history of manipulating greenhouse accounting rules, including the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, to include changes to land use in the base year, knowing land use change would give it a major advantage, and again in the Paris Agreement when Australia moved its base year to 2005 – another high year for land clearing – and was immediately able to take credit for reductions that had already happened.

“The Australian government is shirking its responsibility to decarbonise, and this unfair stance will only put more pressure and cause more tension with other countries that will be forced to further reduce their emissions to keep the climate at a safe level,” Mr Merizan concluded.

Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’
Morrison’s claims of greenhouse emissions falling are ‘misleading’
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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