Australia is on track to miss its 2030 carbon pollution reduction target, with official data released ahead of the Christmas break showing emissions are still rising.
The federal government on Thursday made public the official quarterly emissions data for the year to June showing an increase of 0.8 per cent on the previous year.
It also released projections showing emissions in 2030 will be just 0.5 per cent lower than 2005 levels, rather than the government’s own targets of 26-28 per cent lower.
Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler seized on the timing of the release.
“Malcolm Turnbull has used the cover of Christmas to release damning data that confirms pollution levels are not only growing under his watch, but will continue to rise as far as the eye can see,” Mr Butler said in a statement.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg insisted the government was making “significant progress” on the 2030 target, citing an improvement of more than 50 per cent since the last projections.
“What this shows is that the government’s policies are working to reduce emissions without lobbing a $15.4 billion carbon tax on households and businesses,” he said in a statement.
Climate Council spokesman Will Steffen said Australia’s climate policy is failing.
“The benchmark for good climate policy is to see a drop in emissions, not a jump,” he said.
Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt said the prime minister had become the “king of pollution”.
“By pandering to the climate-denying Trumps of his party, Malcolm Turnbull has signed Australia up to pollute even more,” Mr Bandt said in a statement.
The data also shows an increase of 1.2 per cent in emissions from the electricity sector because of a rise in overall demand for power.
The Australian Conservation Foundation called for a proper review of climate polices.
“If the government is so embarrassed by the results, it should improve its policies,” spokesman Matthew Rose said.
The foundation believes the government has been sitting on the data since September.