Surprise Surprise, Scott Morrison Has Been Caught Out On A Claim About Australia’s Emissions

Once again: That's not actually the truth, Ellen.

ScoMo EU

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Yet another claim by Scott Morrison about Australia’s emission reduction targets has been debunked by fact-checkers on Monday.

The Prime Minister said last November that the nation had cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent since 2005, with results comparable to the European Union. “Our emissions are going down, not up,” he said in an address to the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the time.

“You may say to yourself, or others listening in, ‘Oh yeah, other countries, they’re doing so much better than that’. Not true…because a 20 percent fall is broadly in line with what’s been achieved across the EU,” he said, continuing on that the number was also better than the US, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and South Korea.

However, the Australian Associated Press (the AAP) said his statement is “difficult to reconcile with the official data”. A comparison of worldwide figures by the UN instead reveals that while the EU slashed its emissions by 22.5 percent between 2005 and 2019, Australia only reached 15.2 percent comparatively.

The AAP FactCheck team reached out to ScoMo’s office to present the stats, and was told that Australia is projected to achieve a similar per capita reduction to the EU in eight years time. In a list of countries provided as evidence, the PM’s office didn’t even include all 27 EU countries — and also threw Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland into the mix, which aren’t even part of the Union.

“Australia is in the middle of the pack for a selection of European countries when it comes to emissions reduction achievements but official data still shows Aussie efforts lag the EU,” the APP concluded of the present point in time.

However, the latest quarterly update from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources did reveal that Australia recorded a 20.5 percent drop in emissions between 2005 and 2021 — this is thought to be attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns shutting down industry operations, rather than any government policy.

“Comparable data, including 2020 for the EU, shows the Europeans still cut emissions at a faster rate than Australia,” said the AAP. The 2021 European Environment Agency report reflected a 27 percent emissions reduction over the same period as Australia’s research.

“A basic assessment shows that Australia’s emissions reduction efforts are behind those of the EU as a whole,” said the AAP, confirming that we sit in the middle of the pack, and despite some accurate information there are also “significant errors” to ScoMo’s claims.

It’s not the first time the PM has been called out on dubious environment statements. In December, the ABC found that he had spruiked a similar assertion that “only four countries in the G20 that have actually done better than Australia” in emissions reductions. They found he had cherrypicked “misleading” information, and other datasets would place another five G20 members ahead of us still.