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PM Morrison to dedicate $2 billion across a decade to fight climate change

(Photo: via AAP)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce a $2 billion package for a Climate Solutions Fund over a period of ten years in a major speech outlining the Coalition’s plan to cut pollution.

The Fund extends upon the Abbott government’s “direct action” Emissions Reduction Fund, set up in 2014 for a range of carbon abatement programs, from vegetation management to energy efficiency and transport.

“This is a continuation of those programs, that’s why I’ve always been so confident,” the prime minister told Sky News on Monday.

“And why am I so confident? Because the 2020 targets – we will exceed by over 400 million tonnes.”

The injection of money – which will begin on January 2020 at about $200 million annually – will go towards partnering with farmers, local governments and businesses to deliver practical climate solutions to reduce emissions.

Some of the solutions include:

  • Assistance provided to remote indigenous communities to reduce severe bush fires;
  • Support for small businesses to replace lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration systems to cut energy costs;
  • Assistance to farmers with revegetation and drought-proofing; and
  • Help provided to local communities to reduce waste and boost recycling.

Morrison is expected to say the climate solutions package will ensure Australia meets its Paris 2030 target of lowering emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.

Australia’s target is the equivalent of cutting per capita emissions by approximately 50 per cent, he will say in his speech.

The prime minister says Australia won’t have to use foreign carbon credits to meet the emissions targets, unlike New Zealand.

Morrison will contrast the coalition’s plan with Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.

“Sure you can have higher targets. But they come at a tremendous cost. A cost far worse than the carbon tax Labor said they wouldn’t introduce, but they did and our government had to abolish,” the prime minister will say.

“That’s why I say it is important to have balance in your emissions reduction policies – the cool head as well as the passionate heart. That’s our approach.”

He said his government would continue to play its part in meeting the global challenge of climate change but “without taking a sledgehammer to our economy”.

“Our government will take meaningful, practical action on climate change, without damaging our economy or the family budget,” Morrison will say.

“Our Climate Solutions Package will ensure Australia meets our 2030 emissions reduction target – a responsible and achievable target – building on our success in comprehensively beating our Kyoto commitments.”

Morrison rejected claims the fund is a price on carbon, insisting it’s “not a price, it’s an investment”.

Conservationists have criticised the fund as not being equipped to be Australia’s central mechanism for tackling climate change.

Some moderate Liberals had lobbied for $1 billion be put into the Emissions Reduction Fund, fearing the government needed to do more to tackle climate change.

Climate policy has been a highly contentious issue within the coalition, with the issue playing a significant role in the campaigns of former Liberals challenging sitting MPs and the tensions which led to Malcolm Turnbull being dumped.

–with AAP

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