Australia’s emissions reduction targets: predictable flexibility for changing circumstances

by Tony Wood

Response to the Department of Environment and Energy’s paper: National Energy Guarantee, Draft Detailed Design for Consultation, Commonwealth Elements, July 2018

The National Energy Guarantee (NEG) provides an opportunity to create a stable energy policy platform for Australia. The NEG should be sufficiently flexible to adjust to changing technologies and cost structures, as well as the adoption of tradable certificates and expansion beyond the electricity sector.

Australia’s absolute emissions reduction target should be set as a 10-year trajectory for the period 2021-2030 and reviewed at least every five years from 2020 to maintain consistency with Australia’s current commitments under the Paris Agreement. Previous exemptions for emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities should be revisited and domestic and foreign emissions offsets should be allowed but limited.