The Federal Government has released new figures showing that carbon emissions will rise by 24% above 2000 levels by 2020 despite a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures already in place.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says that it demonstrates that reform, including a price on carbon, is necessary. He said that the national emissions data show that Australia needs to cut at least 160 million tonnes of greenhouse gases on an annual basis before 2020 to make even its minimum 5 per cent target.
But Greens Senator Christine Milne says that the figures show the Government must abandon plans to build new coal-fired generators and to expand coal mining. She says a carbon price on its own will not turn the economy around and the Government needs to embrace renewable energy.
New South Wales appears to be bucking the national trend, recording a steep fall in coal-fired power generation last year. Emissions from coal-fired power in the State fell just over 10% last year, even though the population and economy grew. Most of the slack was taken up by gas, hydro and wind power. New South Wales also purchased some power from Queensland and Victoria reducing emissions in New South Wales but increasing them in the other states.