Australia failing to achieve goal of signature emissions reduction scheme

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An analysis by local media of the Australian government's Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has found that it is failing in its mission.

The analysis, conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and published on Monday, found that outcomes from the ERF, which was established with 2.55 billion Australian dollars (1.75 billion U.S. dollars) in funding in 2014, have flatlined since 2017.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged a further 2 billion Australian dollars (1.37 billion U.S. dollars) for the ERF and re-branded it the Climate Solutions Fund (CSF) during his successful campaign for re-election.

Between 2014 and 2017 the total greenhouse gas emissions prevented by the CSF was 189 million tonnes.

However, in the time since 2017 only a further 4 million tonnes have been prevented, a 97 percent fall in growth.

"The cumulative abatement has stayed relatively static over the last couple of auctions," Tim Baxter, a climate and law expert from the University of Melbourne, told the ABC.

"It seems to be puttering out a little bit."

The CSF works by paying polluters to emit less greenhouse gas.

The Clean Energy Regulator holds reverse auctions twice a year whereby companies bid to win emissions reduction work ranging from installing energy-efficient appliances to planting trees.

The cheapest quality bids win and are awarded CSF contracts.

According to the ABC's analysis, which was built on 10 datasets published by the Clean Energy Regulator, there have been 123 CSF contracts worth 372 million Australian dollars (256 million U.S. dollars) awarded since 2017.

In total there have been 22 contracts cancelled after being awarded representing 13.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that could have been prevented.

The amount being paid by the government for projects has also increased significantly from 10.26 Australian dollars (7.05 U.S. dollars) per tonne of avoided emissions in 2016 to 13.87 Australian dollars (9.54 U.S. dollars) per tonne, a 35 percent rise.

Responding to the ABC, Angus Taylor, minister for energy and emissions reduction, said that the scheme has been "highly successful."

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