The steps taken by Australia's refrigeration and air conditioning industry to reduce emissions has been formally recognised in the federal government's Climate Solutions Package.
Commenting on the $3.5 billion package, which was launched this week by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, industry groups said the package recognised the important role of the HFC phasedown in meeting Australia's climate change commitments.
Refrigerant Australia executive director, Greg Picker, said the RAC industry really has made a difference.
“From the days of CFCs through to the end of the HFC phasedown in 2036, Australian industry will have reduced it emissions of refrigerants – in climate change terms – by over 98%. That is a massive reduction,” he said.
President of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers of Australia (AREMA), Mark Padwick, said members were please to see that action to improve energy efficiency was a cornerstone of the government’s policy.
“We have been working closely and well with government to deliver improved technologies with lower electricity demand to the community and we firmly believe that more can be accomplished,” he said.
Announcing the package, the Prime Minister said the additional funds will be used to build on the success of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) which has contracted 193 million tonnes in emission reductions to date.
He said the ERF is expected to deliver a further 103 million tonnes in emission reductions.
Australian Industry Group CEO, Innes Willox, said additional money for the ERF is a useful and helpful bridging step to a longer term approach to emissions reduction in Australia.
He said the Ai Group has been calling on the government to top-up the ERF as it has played an important role in working towards Australia's long-term climate goals.
There were organisations that didn't welcome the package, instead labelling it as bad policy.
Climate Council CEO, Amanda McKenzie, said emissions have continued to rise every year for the past four years under the current ERF policy.
“Pumping funding into a bad policy is like trying to inflate slashed tyres on a bike - a waste of time, effort and money,” McKenzie said.
“Not only that, the ERF is also being used to prop up fossil fuels. For any climate policy to be credible, it must drive down fossil fuel emissions rapidly and deeply.
“Australia’s current emissions reduction target is woefully inadequate. No matter how many times the Prime Minister says we are going to meet and beat our target, the reality is that there are no credible policies in place to get us there.”
As well as referring to the HFC phasedown, the Climate Solutions Package included an information program to inform owners of RAC equipment of the benefits of regular maintenance.
Details of the program were not included in the package but CCN is awaiting a formal response from the Department of Environment. More details to come.