Prime Minister Scott Morrison is announcing a new climate change election policy that will see $2 billion allocated towards projects to reduce Australian emissions.
The policy is an extension of The Emissions Reduction Fund introduced by former prime minister Tony Abbott and is designed to ensure Australia meets its 2030 emission reduction target as set out in The Paris Agreement.
The program is designed to run for 10 years and supply money to local governments, farmers and businesses in order to fund projects like replacing refrigeration and lighting systems, revegetating land plus reducing the risk of bushfires.
He said that “We acknowledge and accept the challenge of addressing climate change, but we do so with cool heads, not just impassioned hearts,”
In spite of government projections creating doubt about Australia’s ability to meet its 2030 target, the Prime Minister stressed otherwise.
Mr Morrison said that the Emission Reduction Fund had “been an incredibly successful program”, citing that it had supplied 193 million tonnes in reductions and that it was “always our intention” to expand the policy “to ensure we meet our 2030 targets, which we will.”
Some experts have expressed concern about whether or not the 2030 goal will be reached based on the counting of credits leftover from the prior Kyoto targets.
The Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee was dropped shortly after Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in a leadership spill.
Mark Butler, the Shadow Climate Change Minister, said that if Labor won the election it would scrap such a policy. He said that the Coalition was going to make taxpayers “foot the bill for something that big polluters should be doing”.
Mr Butler questioned the Government’s sincerity in suddenly announcing a climate change policy so close to an election, saying that “the question really here is whether people would trust a Government that has spent five years trashing climate policy” and “led by a Prime Minister who brought a lump of coal into the Parliament,”
Labor has announced its own reduction target of 45% by 2030. Mr Morrsion said that Labor’s policy was “reckless” and that it would ruin Australia’s economy.