South Australia sets greenhouse gas limits

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2007

south Australia now has a law to tackle climate change. The Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007, legislates targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as for production and consumption of renewable energy. According to the act, South Australia will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to an amount which is equal to or less than 40 per cent of 1990 levels, by December 31, 2050. It will also produce and increase consumption of at least 20 per cent of renewable electricity by December 31, 2014.

"South Australia continues to lead the way for the rest of the nation when it comes to climate change. We are on track to achieve the legislated target," said South Australia's premier Mike Rann. He also said that South Australia would match California's 'return to 1990 greenhouse pollution levels by 2020' target. California has proposed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 25 per cent below 1990 by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

But there is a catch. "The fact is that greenhouse pollution target for 1990 is a licence to increase, not decrease the state's emissions over the next 13 years," said Mark Parnell, the state's only green legislator. While South Australia is about 6 per cent below its 1990 greenhouse gas emission level in 2005; returning to 1990 levels would mean an increase in its emission. California on the other hand is above their 1990 level; in 2004 California was about 11 per cent above the 1990 level.

"The effect may be completely different; South Australia might just make things worse," said Parnell.

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