Julie Bishop refuses to acknowledge Australia is amongst the worst polluters in the world  

Environment Minister Greg Hunt and and shadow minister Mark Butler have attempted “good faith” discussions on the renewable energy target over the last month to no avail, however the recent G20 and the current UN climate summit in Lima have kept the issue in the limelight.

One argument against retaining the current mandatory target is the unfair costs placed on electricity intensive manufacturing industries, such as aluminium smelters.

Aluminium company Alcoa has pleaded for the major parties to commit to the future of the RET to provide some stability for the industry. Current exemptions mean the impact of the RET to their profit margin falls somewhere around 2.5%.

The urgency to address Australia’s carbon emissions is growing, however Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has used her visit to the UN climate summit in Lima to point the finger of blame at the world’s largest emitters of carbon pollution; the US and China.

“Those countries that are emitting the most have the greatest responsibility,” Bishop told the climate summit, deflecting attention from recent claims that Australia ranks among the worst for emissions per capita.

A report ranking countries for their performance in addressing climate change placed Australia 57 out of 58 countries, only ahead of Saudi Arabia. The removal of the carbon tax earlier this year saw an immediate increase in carbon pollution, a trend that is expected to see our emissions rising by 1.4% within the first twelve months since the repeal.

Australians have certainly embraced solar as a means of reducing its emissions, with the news that one in four Australian households now has a solar system on their roof, and figures from the Australian Photovoltaic Insistitute showing that we have crossed the 4GW threshold of installed capacity.

Solar penetration is above 40% in states like Queensland and South Australia, and the current level of installed solar power systems is four times what it was in 2011.