The Coalition's subsidies for polluters policy took another hit yesterday when Departmental officials gave realistic estimates of how much greenhouse gas abatement could come from soil carbon by 2020.
Ignoring the research of respected bodies like the CSIRO, the Coalition's costings for their "Direct Action" policy depend entirely on large amounts of cheap and plentiful abatement from the land sector.
By 2020 the Coalition is claiming it will secure a fanciful 85 million tonnes of abatement from soil carbon at a cost of around $8 a tonne.
Last night the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education told Senate estimates the Carbon Farming Initiative was expected to drive less than 4 million tonnes of annual abatement on grazing lands and croplands by 2020.
Officials estimated around 3 million tonnes a year could come from revegetation activities on grazing land and about 0.7 million tonnes a year from cropland management. This is less than 5 per cent of the figure which underpins the Coalition's policy costings.
These estimates make it clear that there is no way the Coalition's plan can meet even Australia's unconditional emissions reduction target by 2020.
They also leave the Coalition with a massive budget black hole in their policy.
The Department also made clear that stakeholders had preferred the option of selling these Carbon Farming Initiative credits to parties liable under the carbon price rather than the option of the Government buying these permits - as proposed by the Coalition policy.
The Coalition's subsidies for polluters policy has been universally ridiculed by scientists, economists, business leaders and Liberal Party members.
Tony Abbott should be honest and admit he has no serious plan to replace the carbon price which is already working to cut pollution and transform our economy.
Media contact: Parliamentary Secretary's office (02) 6277 4501