News / Asia

Australia Climate Plan Leaves Emission Cuts with Government

FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Australia on Thursday released a draft climate plan that would leave the government responsible for funding the nation's emission cuts while the nation's biggest carbon emitters would only be liable if they exceed historically high levels.
The A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund is the Liberal government's main weapon to meet its target of cutting Australia's climate-changing emissions to 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020.
Australia must cut CO2 emissions by 421 million tons between now and the end of the decade to meet the target.
“It is a practical policy that will reduce Australia's emissions at low cost, without adding to household and business energy costs,” read the plan, launched by Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Thursday's plan outlined rules for how the fund would spend A$1.55 billion over the next three years and a further billion later to buy emission reductions from companies that offer the cheapest cuts through government auctions.
Environment Minister Hunt told a press conference in Canberra the fund would ensure Australia easily meets its 2020 target, although most independent analysis have shown it will fall well short of achieving the 5-percent cut unless it allocates several billion dollars more to the fund.
“The best way to guarantee that the ERF can meet the target, stay within its budget and avoid imposing new red tape would be to expand the policy to include low-cost international carbon credits,” industry lobby Ai Group said in a statement.
The government plans to fund the plan through the budget in the coming weeks, but it remains uncertain if it will be able to launch it, after the Palmer United Party, which will hold the power of balance in the Senate from July, said earlier this week it would block the policy.
According to the plan, companies under the nation's 2010 emissions reporting scheme would be given an emissions cap, or a baseline, equal to their highest historical emission levels.
There would be no demand for companies to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions over time.
In order to ensure that emitters don't exceed their caps, the government said it would introduce “safeguard mechanisms” from July 2015.
The safeguards, or punishments, were not defined, but are expected to include the option to buy credits from emission-cutting projects to make good for excessive emissions.
However, only facilities emitting 100,000 tons of CO2 or more per year - equal to 52 percent of Australia's total carbon output - would be subject to punishment, the plan said.
“Smaller businesses... will not have a baseline and can presumably emit more without consequence,” said Bret Harper, a carbon analyst with consultancy Reputex.
The plan maintained the government would only fund projects by buying their emission cuts for a five-year period, despite critics arguing that five years is too short to fund capital intensive or long-term projects.
But the government on Thursday said it would “undertake market testing of contractual terms” to see if contract lengths might be extended.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs