An industrial gas plant shutting down after an air pollution crisis has reopened after nearly two decades.
Key points:Gas plants are set to be shut down in Australia in 2019-20 after an investigation by Environment Minister Scott Emerson says the Government is committed to addressing air pollutionKey points The Government says its commitment to air pollution will be tested in 2018-19Environment Minister Scott Emmerson says the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have been “significantly reduced” since the 1990sAn air pollution expert says it is difficult to determine what percentage of Australian jobs depend on the use of fossil fuels.
Key Points:The Government says the government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas pollution will now be tested nationallyIn the last decade, greenhouse gas emitted by the nation’s plants has dropped by over 30 per cent compared to 1990-91, a report by the Australian National University found.
Key facts:A major gas plant in Tasmania was closed by the state government after a carbon dioxide leak in 2015.
Its closure came amid a national carbon dioxide crisisIn December 2017, a coal power plant in Victoria, one of Australia’s biggest coal producers, was also shut down after a methane leak at the site.
The report’s authors said they could not determine whether the closure had anything to do with the emissions from the plant.
But in an update published on Wednesday, Mr Emerson said he was confident the emissions would be reduced to sustainable levels in the next few years.
“The Government is also committed to achieving national emissions targets of 5 per cent of the national emissions, which will be achieved in 2018, 2019 and 2020, which are already set by the National Energy Guarantee (NEG),” Mr Emerson wrote.
“We are also committed, through our NEG commitment, to undertaking a comprehensive national review of the CO2 emissions from Australia’s power sector.”
He said that review would include looking at how to achieve national targets for reducing emissions from all sources, including fossil fuels, gas and nuclear.
Mr Emerson said the NEG was designed to ensure Australia met its 2020 target of reducing CO2 from all sectors by 20 per cent by 2050.
“These national emissions goals are based on a national review which is designed to identify the pathways by which Australia’s CO2 reduction can be achieved,” he said.
“What I’m saying is that, as part of the review, we will be looking at the emissions that are going to be emitted in the electricity sector, and we will consider how we can reduce those emissions in a more sustainable way.”
Mr Emerson told the ABC he was still confident that the Government’s target would be met in 2020.
“It’s a very, very, complicated set of goals and objectives,” he explained.
“I think they’re going to come out of the NEI review and they’re likely to be quite high, but that’s a long way off.”‘
We need to have a plan’The Government’s emissions target for 2025-26 is already well below the target set by Mr Emerson.
“If the NEGs targets are set too low in 2020, then the emissions are not going to fall as fast as we want,” Mr Emerson explained.
He said it was difficult to predict exactly what would happen in 2025-27, and that it was important that the NEIs targets were met as soon as possible.
“So I think it’s very difficult to make a specific determination about the emissions target that’s going to occur, but I’m sure it’s a reasonable one,” he added.
“But we need to make sure that we have a coherent plan, and I think we will.”
Mr Emminger also said he would “review” whether the Government could take further action to ensure the CO-intensive electricity sector continued to produce emissions.
“That will be a review of whether or not we can make further investment to the electricity supply,” he told the National Press Club.
“Whether or not it’s possible to increase the amount of electricity that we’re producing and whether or a greater focus on renewable energy will help achieve our objectives.”
In the meantime, I think what we need is to have some kind of plan in place so that we can move forward in a responsible way.