News / Asia

    Australia Climate Plan Leaves Emission Cuts with Government

    FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
    FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
    Reuters
    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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora