By Stephen Dziedzic, staff
ABC News Online, 9 February 2011
The Federal Government has released new figures showing carbon emissions are expected to increase sharply under current arrangements.
The latest modelling shows emissions are on track to rise 24 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020 despite a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures already in place.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says it demonstrates that reform is necessary.
"It's only with a carbon price, which is essentially a price tag on pollution, that we will cut pollution levels, and drive investment in clean energy," he said.
"That's what's necessary as a public policy response and that's what the Government's committed to."
But Greens Senator Christine Milne says the figures show the Government must abandon plans to expand coal mining and build new coal-fired generators.
She says a carbon price on its own will not turn the economy around, adding the Government needs to embrace renewable energy.
Energy emissions down
A new report has found greenhouse gas emissions from energy use fell by 2 per cent across eastern states last year.
Annual emissions were more than 6.5 million tonnes lower in 2010 than 2009, which also recorded a decrease.
The Climate Group's annual report shows New South Wales recorded the largest decrease of more than 5 million tonnes, or 5 per cent on 2009 levels.
The Climate Group's Rupert Posner says the main reason for the drop is a decrease in demand for coal-fired power generation.
"It's partly because we haven't produced as much electricity from our coal-fired power stations," he said.
"That's been replaced by increased electricity generation from gas, that's got a much lower greenhouse gas intensity, and also an increase in the amount of renewable energy."