Australia's carbon pollution may not yet have peaked, with carbon market analysts Reputex predicting an increase in emissions beyond 2030.
That’s despite the federal government’s commitment to a 5 per cent decrease in emissions on 2005 levels by 2020 and a 26-28 per cent cut by 2030.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt claimed a win late last year, revealing Australia had already met its abatement task of cutting emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.
However, Reputex says those figures are purely due to accounting measures, which include carryovers from overachieving the first target of the Kyoto Protocol.
Government data released close to Christmas shows Australia’s carbon emissions grew 1.3 per cent over the 2014/15 financial year.
It’s the first increase since emissions peaked a decade ago, Reputex says.
“Meeting Australia’s abatement task is largely just a victory in accounting terms,” Reputex director Hugh Grossman said.
“We have met our target, but we used a credit to get there … there is a substantial disconnect between our national abatement task and the emissions reality.”
Australia’s climate policies, including the $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund that pays polluters not to pollute, are likely to grow emissions higher than the historic peak, he said.
The analysts don’t project a peak in carbon pollution in Australia before 2030.
China, one of the world’s fastest developing economies and the largest carbon polluter, has pledged to peak emissions by 2030.
Reputex predicts Australia’s emissions will grow by 6 per cent to 2020.
Australia was one of 196 parties to sign up to a landmark agreement to curb emissions and limit global warming to two degrees at a United Nations conference in Paris in December.
The government will review its climate policies – including the emissions reduction fund – in 2017, a move welcomed by Reputex.