Science

Industry key to Labor's climate plan

Industry key to Labor's climate plan”

"Labor will take real action on climate change, by working with industries to bring down pollution, protect competitiveness and jobs, and build the industries of the future", the action plan said.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wants a woman to be the next governor-general.

Labor's climate policy extends the coalition's "safeguard mechanism" that limits pollution by big industries.

Responding to the policy proposal, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann compared it to the previous Labor government's "carbon tax", a policy which was key in Labor losing the 2013 election.

"Bill Shorten does not have a plan, he just has a tax", Prime Minister Scott Morrison repeatedly told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

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".

As a major resources and energy exporter and a large country with a relatively small population, Australia needs a climate change policy which recognises the high relative emissions intensity of the country's economy.

"Australia is on the frontline of climate change and we are already experiencing more severe heatwaves, intense rainfall as well as longer bushfire seasons", said Ms McKenzie.

"What we need is cuts in pollution".

If Labor wins government they will consult with states, territories and industry on how best to introduce the ban, which the party said would create consistency after many jurisdictions moved to phase out plastic bags.

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.

This would lead to businesses being able to choose the most efficient and cost-effective manner to offset emissions, and would also let them sell their own credits if they cut pollution below their baseline, he said.

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.

After months of speculation, Mr Shorten will also confirm Labor will not use carry-over carbon credits to help meet (and effectively reduce) its ambitious emissions reduction target.

The new safeguard mechanism will apply to businesses that produce more than 25,000 tonnes of direct Carbon dioxide emissions a year - an estimated 0.01 of all businesses - a big reduction on the current level that applies to polluters emitting more than 100,000 tonnes.

Labor also confirmed it will not use carbon credits from the earlier Kyoto climate agreement to meet Australia's targets under the Paris agreement. 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.

A $300 million fund will help trade-exposed industries like steel, aluminium and cement manufacturing to remain internationally competitive.



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