With solar energy rebates, is the 2007-08 Budget green? A long way off, says the Australian Conservation Foundation. Just take a look at the stats we’ve put together. Spending on climate change 2007-08

  • Budget surplus: $10.6 billion
  • Total climate change spending in 2007-08*: $500 million
  • Total climate change spending as a % of the 2007-08 surplus: 5%
  • New climate change funding for 2007-08: $148 million
  • Draught beer concessional rate of excise for 2007-2008**: $170 million

The photovoltaic rebate program (solar panels) announced in Budget 2007-08:

  • $150 million over five years (or an average of $30million per year)
  • Consumption tax exemptions for privately produced beer 2007-2008, $40 million†
  • After five years, the program will reduce emissions by 32,100 tonnes per annum.††
  • This is 0.01% of our 1990 emissions
  • Around 10,000 programs of this size are needed to avoid dangerous climate change†††
  • The program will reach around 14,000 (or 0.2%) of Australia’s seven million households

Comparison of spending on polluting subsidies vs climate-change spending
For every dollar spent on climate change, we spend another 12 on dirty subsidies.

Click for a larger image

*1) $741 million in new climate change spend. Assuming this is spread evenly over five years, that’s $148m / year. Add to that: 2) All other climate-change programmes, assumed to be maintained at forward-estimate levels from 06/07 Budget. That is estimated at $260m for 2007-08 in ongoing climate programs. Add to that: 3) Underspend in climate programs during 06/07 (LETDF and Renewables in Remote locations funding) that is carried forward to 07/08. This comes out to around $64 million. Add: 4) A possible additional allocation of $24m extra for the remote renewables program. (Unclear whether some or all of this is included in item 1) . This give a total climate spend in 2007-08 of $496m.

** From the Tax expenditures statement 2006

† From the Tax expenditures statement 2006

†† Calculated using the following assumptions; a) that the rebate is for $8 per watt peak b) that for every peak watt, 1.6kWh of electricity is produced per annum (from here) c) that every kWh from solar avoids 1.07 Kg of CO2 eq (from here)

††† The gap between Australia’s forecast emissions in 2020 and a 30% reduction below 1990 levels is 319 million tones.