The Federal Opposition Leader today released details of its climate action policy, entitled Direct Action Plan: Environment and Climate Change.
The Opposition Leader committed to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent by 2020, consistent with existing Government commitments.
Key points include:
Emissions Reduction Fund
The Emissions Reduction Fund would provide direct incentives to industry and farmers to reduce CO2 emissions. Businesses that reduce emissions below their baseline or ‘business as usual’ activity will be able to sell their CO2 abatement to the government. Businesses that emit above their ‘business as usual’ levels will incur a financial penalty. The emissions reduction has been estimated as costing $3.2 billion over the forward estimates.
The Fund will use the existing National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) to determine the abatement achieved by individual businesses. The policy states that a Coalition Government would establish an expert body to assess tenders and make recommendations on activities to be supported by the Fund.
Businesses not covered by NGERS will be able to participate on an opt-in basis. The Fund would also be able to consider tenders for projects that would reduce CO2 emissions. Examples cited indicate: forestry abatement, utilising waste coal mine gas for electricity generation, energy efficient building projects, innovative landfill management, composting and recycling.
A Coalition Government would also provide $60 million to develop the La Trobe Valley, Hunter and Central Queensland regions as Clean Energy Employment Hubs.
Today’s statement outlines that a Coalition Government would use the Emissions Reduction Fund to deliver about 85 million tonnes per annum of CO2 abatement through soil carbons by 2020 with an initial purchase of 10 million tonnes of abatement through soil carbons by 2012-13.
The Leader of the Opposition today identified that a Coalition Government would have as a goal achieving one million additional solar energy roofs by 2020. To help achieve this, the Opposition committed to providing a $1,000 rebate for either solar panels or solar hot water systems, capped at 100,000 rebates per year. This rebate would be in addition to existing rebates.
A Coalition Government would also allocate $100 million to a Solar Towns and Solar Schools Initiative which will provide grants for towns, non-capital cities and schools to access direct solar energy for onsite use and return to the power grid. $50 million would be allocated to a Geothermal and Tidal Towns Initiative.
The Leader of the Opposition today committed to the planting of 20 million trees by 2020, including in urban corridors.
$2 million would also be allocated to study the use of underground electricity transmission and the potential land recovery from the conversion of overhead power line corridors to urban parklands and inner suburban housing.
The Leader of the Opposition indicated that a proportion of incentives provided through the Renewable Energy Target will be reserved for bigger projects and emerging technologies.
$5 million will also be made available for research into algal synthesis and retain the Greenhouse Friendly programme.
Details of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan: Environment and Climate Change can be accessed here.