Australia cut carbon dioxide emissions from its electricity sector by as much as 17 million tonnes because of the carbon price and would have curbed more had industry expected the price to be permanent, according to an Australian National University study.
The ANU report, which used official market data to the end of June, found the drop in power demand attributed to the carbon price was between 2.5 and 4.2 terawatt-hours per year, or about 1.3 to 2.3 per cent of the National Electricity Market serving about 80 per cent of Australia’s population.
Emissions-intensive brown and black coal-fired power generators cut output, with about 4 gigawatts of capacity taken offline. The emissions intensity of NEM supply dropped between 16 and 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of supply, underscoring the role of carbon pricing rather than slumping demand in curbing pollution, the paper said.
However, investors’ doubts that the carbon tax would last – fostered in part by then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s “blood oath” to repeal it if the Coalition took office - meant high-emissions generators were mothballed rather than permanently closed.
Which means that with the tax gone, they'll be back to cranking out pollution, at least until solar kills them off. And meanwhile, Australia will continue to dry up and burn down, and Tony Abbott will blame it on the phase of the moon, or solar flares, or an invisible sky fairy, rather than accepting that he is making a worse future for Australians.