Monday, August 21, 2017, 11:15am

The Clean Energy Regulator on Friday revealed it has given four more companies approval to emit greenhouse gas above previous record levels without paying penalties. 

The Regulator has granted “calculated baselines” that allow for increased emissions from facilities operated by Rio Tinto Aluminium (the Bell Bay smelter), Cement Australia (the Fisherman’s Landing cement works), Incitec Pivot (its Moranbah ammonium nitrate facility) and Rio Tinto Alcan (its Weipa bauxite mine). 

Rio Tinto’s Bell Bay smelter has been granted approval to emit without penalty 32,039 tonnes a year for the next three years. 

Rio Tinto Alcan has approval to emit without penalty an extra 19,358 tonnes a year for the next three years. 

Companies can apply to the Regulator for information to be kept confidential for commercial reasons and Friday’s update doesn’t reveal the approved increase for the other two sites – the Cement Australia works and the Incitec Pivot facility. 

The latest four approvals mean the Regulator has now granted 10 calculated baselines. 

Businesses have until October 31 to apply for calculated baselines, and many are expected to do so. 

Increased emissions from large emitters that are granted calculated baselines counteract abatement delivered through the Emissions Reduction Fund (see background here). 

The Climate Change Authority last year recommended that the government cease granting calculated baselines (see background here) and Labor has also been critical of them (see background here).

 – this article waoriginally published here on the Footprint website, 17 August 2014