Steady as she goes for carbon emissions


I love this graph.

It comes from the Australian governments economic modeling of their Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the work by their economists that helped them to decide on how to configure the government effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Bear in mind they have set themselves a target of reducing emissions to 60% below 2000 levels by 2050.

That is to reach around 200 Mt CO2e.

What the graph tells us about Australian emissions is this:

  • At present we are at a tick under 600 Mt CO2e
  • If business proceeds as usual with no mitigation (black line), emissions rise steadily until we hit 1,000 Mt CO2e by 2050
  • In the CPRS scenario actual emissions (dark blue line) do not decline at all until 2030
  • The light blue line, that is the purchase of permits from overseas, parallels the business as usual line.

So this CPRS scenario projects is that actual emissions stay as they are now and Australia buys its reduction target through the purchase of overseas credits.

The government is saying that, economically, they need to keep things as they are, change only slowly, get more efficient to avoid increasing emissions too much and buy our way to the target reductions.

Or put another way. Despite great sunshine, wind a plenty, tidal and geothermal options Australia will continue to rely on coal for its energy.

The politicians will parade their CPRS as fantastic green policy, the way to preserve the environment, keep jobs, and deliver peace of mind over climate change.

The trouble is that they are colour blind and must have very sore behinds from their vantage point on the fence. Why act now when you can act later.

Don’t you just love them.


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