This week the Coalition Government announced a new pre-election climate change policy, pledging $2 billion to reduce Australia’s emissions.
The Climate Solutions Fund is an extension of the Abbott Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), adding to the current residual funding of $226 million.
It aims to play a “key” role in meeting the 2030 target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent.
“We will meet our global commitments, and do what is right for our environment, without taking a wrecking ball to the economy,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
We will meet our commitments in practical ways by working with land holders, farmers, businesses and indigenous communities.
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According to National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar, “The extension of the ERF support until 2030 will allow farmers and small businesses the opportunity to improve the environment and benefit from new revenue opportunities.
“The current ERF has over two thirds of its projects in the farm sector: 666 of 908.
“The new fund should be expected to support at least a proportional scale of engagement creating more opportunities for positive participation by farmers in the carbon market.”
Mr Morrison stated that the current ERF, which has contracted 193 million tonnes in emission reductions, has set the stage for the Climate Solutions Fund to potentially deliver a further 103 million tonnes in emission reductions by 2030.
The Fund plans to invest in farmers to help them revegetate degraded land, to protect existing forest areas and to increase habitats for our native species.
It will also work with indigenous communities in projects such a savannah burning where traditional land care practice is said to blend with modern environmental science.
However, the announcement has been heavily criticised by the Opposition with Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, stating the Liberals will go to any length to avoid taking action on climate change seriously.
“Throwing a further $2 billion of taxpayers money at Tony Abbott’s signature policy shows the Liberals will never take climate change seriously,” he said.
Labour plans to counteract the Coalition’s climate policy by investing in renewables and tackle climate change with a 50 per cent renewables target by 2030 and emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030.
Mr Morrison said these figures are “reckless” and would put a “wrecking ball” through the economy.