Some new post-election updates

With the recent change in government it can be hard to keep up with what's staying, what's going and what's new across all portfolios.

There have already been a lot of changes since the federal election, especially when it comes to the energy sector and the environment. Here is some of what's happened so far.

Reshuffles, dissolution and the carbon tax scrap

Australia's carbon pricing mechanism, which proved itself successful in lowering emissions, has been scrapped. The potential influence this may have on electricity prices is still uncertain as the required legislation has not yet gone through or come into effect.

On September 29, the Department of the Environment released a statement announcing legislation would soon be introduced to repeal of the carbon tax and introduce the Direct Action Plan.

The statement said that the action plan will be designed to efficiently and effectively source low cost emissions reductions. It will build on the Carbon Farming Initiative and will provide incentives for carbon abatement activities nationwide.

Also in September, Australia's Climate Commission - the government's independent source for information about the science of climate change, the economics of a carbon price, and about international greenhouse gas emission reduction activities - was dissolved.

The new Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, released a statement on September 19, stating that this organisation was dissolved to "streamline government processes and avoid duplication of services".

According to Mr Hunt, independent advice and analysis on climate change will continue to be provided by the Department of the Environment. He said this measure will save the government $580,000 in 2013/14 and annual funding of up to $1.6 million in years to come.

Mr Hunt has taken on the environment portfolio, while the position of minister for climate change has been dissolved and consolidated under Mr Hunt's overarching role. 

The government has announced, especially in the light of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on human contribution to climate change, that it will continue to work towards Australia's emissions reduction targets for 2020.

Projections from the Fifth Assessment Report include that the temperature could rise from anywhere between 0.9 to 5.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and sea levels could rise by 0.28 to 0.98 metres in that same time period. Urgent and substantial emissions reductions are needed to remain on the lower end of these numbers.

Posted by Charlie Moore