Labor's climate policy builds on safeguard

Mindy Sparks
April 5, 2019

The government has attacked this aspect, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying it would force Australian business to spend money on "carbon credits for Kazakhstan".

Nationals leader Michael McCormack claimed agriculture would "almost be shut down".

AUSTRALIA could hold its head a little higher on climate change policy under Labor if elected, according to the Climate Council. Labor's policy would lift our reputation internationally.

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

Mr Shorten said the cost of doing nothing was higher than taking action on climate change.

"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.

"This policy would be a huge step forward from where we are now, but if the ALP is elected it will need to be rapidly ratcheted up to tackle the escalating climate crisis", she said.

"Labor has listened to industry and stakeholders who desperately want stability after this chaotic government - they don't want to start from scratch with another mechanism".

Reportedly, businesses will have to meet their declining baselines by either buying offsets to cover any difference, which will impose a cost on their operations, or by reducing their emissions to an agreed level.

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.

Some big polluters had their baseline set above their worst polluting days, meaning the limit effectively allowed them to increase emissions.

"Labor's approach isn't about punishing polluters", Mr Butler said.

Last year, the businesses already covered by the safeguard mechanism surrendered about 450,000 permits, with some having to buy carbon farming offsets at $12-15 a tonne - more expensive than worldwide credits.

Climate change policy should use all available means - including internationally recognised Kyoto credits - to reduce emissions and to meet our global obligations at least cost to Australians. The credits can be used for sale in a trading scheme, which is expected to be linked with the electricity sector and will be covered by a separate regulatory regime.

Trade-exposed industries like steel, aluminium and cement would receive "tailored treatment" under the plan, while the transport sector would be subject to vehicle emissions standards, to be negotiated after the election.

It follows the release yesterday of Labor's plan to reached 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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