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The Morrison government subsidising dirty fuel amid the climate crisis beggars belief

The Morrison government subsidising dirty fuel amid the climate crisis beggars belief

The announcement this week by energy minister Angus Taylor that he’s putting together a major package to prop up oil refineries to preserve dirty fuel supplies to one of the dirtiest car fleets on the planet simply beggars belief.

This week we’ve seen king tides and storms hitting Australia’s eastern coastline, changing the face of much-loved Aussie beaches , which were already feeling the effects of rising sea levels. This time last year, the country was on fire. In 2020 our Great Barrier Reef was bleached for the third time in five years , the most widespread event ever. We just had the warmest spring ever, 2C above average , which would have been “virtually impossible” without our greenhouse gas emissions.

We are facing an increased onslaught of climate impacts that will just accelerate unchecked without global action on climate to rapidly reduce emissions: a recent report showed Australia was the G20’s fourth-highest most vulnerable to climate risk.

The transport sector is the third-largest source of emissions in the Australian economy, after electricity and industry. In 2019, transport represented 18% of total emissions, an increase of 22% since 2005. According to Taylor’s own projections these are set to grow by 6% between 2020 and 2030, when they would be close to 21% of national emissions. Road transport accounts for the 85% of those emissions, and car emissions have grown 25% since 1990.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world with no emissions nor fuel-efficiency standards for light duty vehicles. The government has given no indication of any intention of introducing them, despite five years of deliberations in the ministerial forum on vehicle emissions.

And it gets worse. Australia’s fuel quality is among the worst in the OECD, with high sulphur content at levels banned in the EU 10 years ago. Last year the government allowed this to continue to 2027. One consequence, apart from health effects, is that many very efficient internal combustion engine vehicles that can only run on low-sulphur premium unleaded will not be sold in Australia […]

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