On 24th April, the Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper, with the purpose of setting out a cost effective, practical and simple approach to reduce our national emissions without a multi-billion dollar carbon tax.
The White Paper sets out the final design for the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the Australian Government’s efforts to tackle climate change.
Since the release of the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, the abatement task has been revised down from 431 to 421 million tonnes of CO2-e over the period to 2020.
Announcing the release of the whitepaper, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the government is committed to meeting Australia’s emissions target of five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.
The government has already introduced legislation to repeal the carbon tax but continues to face legislative hurdles from the opposition and greens.
“We are committed and we will not stop until we repeal the carbon tax, and we are committed and we will not stop until we’ve implemented the Emissions Reduction Fund,” he said.
Hunt said the fund will identify and purchase emissions reductions at the lowest cost and they must make a genuine contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
A safeguard mechanism will be put in place to protect the value of funds spent and create a stable landscape in which businesses can make new investments. It will commence on July 1, 2015.
The safeguard mechanism will apply at the facility level and will be restricted to facilities with direct emissions of 100,000 tonnes of C02-e a year or more. This approach will limit the number of covered businesses to around 130.
However, opposition environment spokesperson Mark Butler said the government is not serious about tackling climate change, and Direct Action will not deliver any substantial reduction in Australia’s carbon pollution.
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt agrees the policy will not work.
“The first big flaw in the scheme is that it takes money away from ordinary people and gives it to the country’s biggest polluters,” he said.
“The second big flaw in the scheme is that there’s no legal obligation for Australia or Australia’s biggest polluters to actually cut their pollution.
The whitepaper is available and further information can be found at: http://www.climatecontrolnews.com.au/news/uncertainty-surrounds-emissions-whitepaper.