Monday, December 15, 2008

Australian Government Carbon Target Too Low

The Australian Government released its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme White Paper today (15 December 2008). Buried down in the detail is a CO2 reduction target of only 5 to 15 per cent below 2000 levels by the end 2020. This is much less than the 25% needed to address climate change and is not an acceptable target, in my view. A reduction of 15% could be made just through Green ICT initiatives alone, using the techniques I will be teaching, in an ACS course starting 18 January 2009. This is without the need to make major changes to industry or lifestyle.

Use of the Internet is integral to the trading scheme proposed by the government, but I could find no mention of how ICT could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
Policy position 7.22
The Scheme regulator will publish emissions obligations under the Scheme, the types of estimation methodologies used and any uncertainty estimates reported by liable entities on the internet as soon as is feasible after reports are submitted. ...

Green Paper position
As soon as feasible after reports are submitted, the Government would publish on the internet emissions obligations under the scheme, the types of assessment methodologies used and any uncertainty estimates reported by liable entities. ...

Administrative costs

More frequent auctions involve a higher administrative cost for the regulator, and potentially for bidders. However, the capacity to hold auctions on the internet means that costs are unlikely to be an important factor in determining auction frequency. ...

Internet auction platform

Auctions will be conducted using an internet platform. The internet platform will encourage more entrants and greater competition because it is low cost and readily accessible. ...

From:Volume 1 Full Report, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme White Paper , Australian Government, 15 December 2008 (emphasis added).
Many Australian companies have expressed interest in participating in the CDM, but are unfamiliar with the processes and rules. Designated operational entities are best placed to advise project participants on the likelihood of a project achieving registration and generating CERs. However, the Department of Climate Change will provide background information to potential investors and project developers on the CDM project cycle and requirements. It will also help participants access other useful information via the internet. ...

The Kyoto Protocol also requires the national registry to make certain information publicly available, and to provide a publicly accessible user interface through the internet that allows people to query and view the information. Publicly available information will include:
  • the holder of each account
  • the type of each account (holding, cancellation or retirement)
  • the commitment period with which a cancellation or retirement account is associated
  • the representatives of account holders
  • the full name, mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address of each account holder representative. ...
The Department of Climate Change compiles Australia’s greenhouse gas inventory using the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System (AGEIS). The AGEIS centralises emissions estimation, inventory compilation, reporting and data storage processes into a single system. It has been used to consolidate Australia’s emissions estimation methodologies and fully integrated quality control procedures into the compilation process. The AGEIS provides high transparency levels for the inventory—emissions data from the AGEIS database for the set of national inventory accounts are publicly accessible through a dynamic web interface. ...

From: Volume 2 Full Report, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme White Paper , Australian Government, 15 December 2008 (emphasis added).
The summary is provided as a well formatted HTML page. The detailed content of the report is in PDF and Ms-word. The Ms-Word version seems superfluous and a HTML version of the report would be far more useful (as was done with the Garnaut Climate Change Review Final Report). There is some odd wording which says that "The PDF version is the only legal version of the print version.". This may make some sense to a lawyer, but not to anyone else. In contrast to this the actual content of the report is very readable.

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