Abbott unveils Coalition climate policy

Industry would be given financial incentive to cut emissions under the Coalition's climate change policy unveiled today

February 2, 2010

Industry will be given an incentive to go green as part of the Coalition’s proposed emissions reduction policy.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott today unveiled the Coalition’s policy on climate change, which he says will deliver results without putting a financial burden on the nation.

Under the scheme, which will cost $3.2 billion over four years, Abbott says a $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund will be created to support carbon reduction activities by business and industry by the middle of 2011.

Businesses that cut their emissions below their historical averages will be able to sell the abatement to the Federal Government, which Abbott claims will entice companies to take action on climate change.

Businesses that exceed their historical average will pay a financial penalty, but the Opposition has not detailed what the figure will be.

However, incentives will be provided to the oldest and least efficient operations, meaning trucking companies with dated vehicles may receive extra financial assistance.

As the Rudd Government plans to reintroduce its twice defeated emissions trading Bill into parliament, Abbott claims his plan is simpler and cheaper and will deliver the same 5 percent emissions reduction by 2020 as an ETS.

"This is far superior to [Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd’s approach of imposing a giant new Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) tax onto the cost of everything from energy prices to food," opposition spokesman on transport Warren Truss says the Coalition policy.

"The cost of the Coalition’s scheme over the first four years is $3.2 billion. It will protect jobs, not raise prices or impose any new or increased taxes on Australian households or businesses."

Under an ETS, the Government will set a cap on the level of emissions industry can produce. Those companies that exceed the limit would need to purchase trading permits under a market-based scheme.

Those which do not exceed the limit may trade their permits to companies that need them.

Abbott’s plan will also focus on planting 20 million trees, introducing a $1,000 solar rebate and store about 85 million tonnes of carbon in soil by 2020.

Under the Rudd Government’s scheme, a cent would be cut from the fuel excise for every cent rise in the price of fuel for one year for the trucking industry.

Trucking operators would also be exempt from having to purchase trading permits because fuel manufacturers would be required to buy them and then pass the costs on in the price of fuel.

The ETS has been supported by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), which claims it is the best method of ensuring the industry meets its obligations without too much cost.

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