The Australian Industry Group has warned that Tony Abbott’s call to rule out the use of international carbon credits will push up the cost of meeting emissions targets.
The Turnbull government’s review of its climate policies, released before Christmas, flagged the Coalition’s intention to allow use of international permits to help Australia meet its international emissions reductions commitments.
Carbon credit schemes would allow Australian energy companies to buy credits for abatement projects, such as tree-planting in developing countries, to meet restrictions on emissions in the proposed national energy guarantee.
On Wednesday Abbott said he did not support overseas carbon credits being available to Australian businesses because it was a form of “carbon trading, which is a carbon tax under a different name”.
“That just means that Aussie consumers end up shovelling our money to foreign carbon traders and we all know the potential for rorts there,” he told the Australian.
The Australian Industry Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said industry had advocated for international credits for many years “as a cost effective means of achieving our obligations”.
“The sensible approach is to meet our obligations in the least costly ways possible,” Willox said. “And in some cases it will be less expensive to meet these obligations by reducing emissions [or sequestering carbon dioxide] in other countries.
“It makes absolutely no sense to rule out this option by insisting that our commitments can only be fulfilled within our borders.
“This can only increase the costs of meeting our international obligations.”
Willox said Australians would need to be “totally satisfied” commitments were met with genuine reductions with “strict methodologies and transparent measurement”, but that was true wherever abatement was achieved.
He said meeting Australia’s commitment in the Paris climate agreement would “inevitably” involve some…