Friday, 19 April, 2019

Industry key to Labor's climate plan

Labor Announces Plan To Outlaw Single Use Plastic Bags In Australia By 2021 Labor aims 50 percent of new cars to be electric vehicles by 2030
Cary Marshall | 05 April, 2019, 05:22

Australia's conservative government on Tuesday announced billions of dollars in funding to cut carbon emissions in a pre-election pitch to entice voters increasingly frustrated with climate policy inaction.

Australia's 250 biggest polluting businesses would have to cut or offset emissions but could make money by selling carbon credits if they overachieve, if Labor wins the next federal election.

But at the same time, he will seek to counter any attack by declaring there will be "no carbon tax and no carbon pricing mechanism" under a Shorten Labor government.

Agriculture and electricity generators will be exempt from the scheme and a $300 million fund will help trade-exposed industries like steel, aluminium and cement manufacturing to remain internationally competitive.

As a major resources and energy exporter and a large country with a relatively small population, Australia needs a climate change policy which recognises the high relative emissions intensity of the country's economy.

AUSTRALIA could hold its head a little higher on climate change policy under Labor if elected, according to the Climate Council.

And Finance Minister Mathias Cormann took aim at the plan to allow businesses to trade on global carbon markets, saying: "It clearly is a carbon tax".

Labor's climate policy, released on Monday, extends the coalition's safeguard mechanism to set up a cap and trade system for industrial polluters.

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"Australia is on the frontline of climate change and we are already experiencing more severe heatwaves, intense rainfall as well as longer bushfire seasons", said Ms McKenzie.

The 250 biggest polluters must either cut their emissions or buy credits to offset any above a baseline level, and they would again be allowed to buy from global markets.

"We allow business to trade in every other robust global market, why on earth would we not allow them to trade in worldwide carbon markets - provided, of course that they're robust and they're credible", he said.

Labor will also set a national electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new auto sales by 2030, as Australia lags behind other developed nations in adopting the new models.

As details are clarified about where the baselines are set and how and when they will reduce, businesses will be able to start planning to invest in domestic abatement schemes if they can't directly cut pollution levels.

"Our commitments will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensure Australia meets its worldwide climate targets and address local environment challenges, while maintaining a strong economy", Environment Minister Melissa Price said.

"For the sake of our economy, for the sake of our environment and for the sake of the country we want to hand on to the next generation, Labor has a clear plan to take real action on climate change".

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