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Greenhouse numbers: Rubbery land-use figures mask coal rise; Transport responds to price

Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today welcomed Minister Wong's release of the latest National Greenhouse Emissions Inventory.

Senator Milne said "This inventory, more than ever before, points the way clearly to what we must do to swiftly and effectively build a new, post-carbon economy."

2% drop in transport emissions 2005-06
"The report makes it clear that petrol price rises do lead to emissions reductions, but that those reductions will be temporary unless we invest substantially the alternatives. This sends a clear message that, if we invest now in clean, mass transit, at the same time as introducing emissions trading, we will see transport emissions go much further down than they did in 2006, and stay down, unlike their subsequent rise in 2007.

"The Government is right to hold the line on transport being included in emissions trading, but this will clearly not be enough when tax concessions and transport funding are still skewed heavily in favour of roads over rails. If the Government shifts funding priorities to provide real alternatives to people struggling with increasing petrol prices, the emissions trading scheme will drive substantial and sustainable emissions reductions without causing financial hardship."

2% increase in stationary energy emissions 2005-06
"The report clearly shows that the inexorable rise in emissions from coal is still at the heart of the problem. Unless and until we start seriously addressing coal emissions with energy efficiency and renewable energy, we will not turn around Australia's growing emissions. 70% of the overall increase in emission since 1990 is due to coal.

"Coal is at the heart of our skyrocketing emissions problem, and replacing coal is at the heart of the zero emissions solution."

Land use change and forestry numbers unreliable
"Once again, the re-calibration of forestry and land-clearing emissions numbers makes it difficult to get a grasp on long-term trends. The report notes that the figures are 'interim', admitting that they cannot be relied upon.

"According to this re-calibration, land-clearing emissions fell by 11 megatonnes from 2005-06, almost twice the total drop in emissions of 5.8 megatonnes. If it were not for the re-calibration, our emissions would have gone up once again.

"Forestry, transport and coal, so clearly identified by this latest greenhouse inventory, are the three difficult issues that the Rudd Government must grapple with fast if it is to set Australia on the path to building a post-carbon economy."

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