The petroleum industry has warned that improving the nation’s fuel standards — which would be necessary for Labor to meet its proposed vehicle emissions target — would significantly add to the amount of greenhouse pollution pumped out by the nation’s refiners.

Amid growing calls by industry for more detail on Labor’s climate change policy, refiners warned meeting new low-sulphur fuel standards would add 160,000 to 320,000 tonnes of carbon pollution to the atmosphere each year, due to the energy intensity of the desulphurisation process. “The Australian refinery industry remains concerned that sufficient regard is not being paid to the increase in emissions from refineries as a result of improving fuel standards,” the Australian ­Institute of Petroleum said yesterday.

The warning came as the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network — whose members include BHP, BlueScope, Caltex, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Santos and Shell — urged Labor to model the impact of its climate policy.

“This is complicated policy and will require detailed broad consultation to ensure facility-level ­impacts are considered,” AIGN chief executive Susie Smith said.

“Given the complexity and inter-relatedness of carbon policy across the economy a steady process with deep stakeholder ­engagement is required.

This process should allow sufficient time to develop the design and understand through detailed modelling the interrelated carbon-cost impacts across the economy.”

The push for Bill Shorten to produce modelling comes after ­repeated claims from Labor that it is “impossible” to properly cost its climate change policy and 45 per cent emissions reduction target.

The Opposition Leader yesterday rejected new modelling from Brian Fisher at BAEconomics ­indicating the hit to gross national product from Labor’s proposed ­climate overhaul would be ­between $264bn and $542bn as “propaganda” that was “full of wrong assumptions”.

The car industry has warned that motorists need better fuel to meet Mr Shorten’s proposed 105g-of-carbon-per-kilometre standard for light vehicles.

But the refiners have successfully argued that introducing the new European sulphur standard any earlier than 2027 would threaten their viability.

In the days before the election was called, Environment Minister Melissa Price postponed fuel standard improvements for Australian refiners until 2027.

Extracted from The Australian

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