Shorten promises tough emissions targets, but no cap-and-trade
A Shorten government would legislate tough emissions reduction targets but drop the pledge for a cap-and-trade system taken to the last election, under reforms to be debated at Labor’s national conference next month.
The ALP final draft platform includes reforms to environment policy including the creation of an independent national environmental protection authority and a trigger for federal curbs on state-based land-clearing.
The plan supports greater public and community ownership of electricity generation but “prohibits the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia”.
The platform restates Labor’s support for Australia to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to climate finance to help developing countries cope with the impact of climate change.
A spokeswoman for Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler said the platform was a draft that would be debated at the national conference to be held in Adelaide from December 16 to 18.
But she said the ALP was committed to a 50 per cent renewable energy target, 45 per cent emissions reductions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
The 224-page final draft of the ALP platform says Australia should play a leading role in global efforts against climate change.
It says Labor would “work with the business community and others to introduce legal limits on carbon pollution that lets business work out the cheapest and most effective way to operate within pollution caps”.
It represents a departure from the Climate Change Action Plan taken to the last election which included a two-phase emissions trading scheme.
Under that plan, phase one was to operate from July this year to June 2020 before stepping up to meet more ambitious targets under the Paris Agreement.
“Since 2014 there has been no constraint on releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in Australia,” the document says.
“A legal cap on carbon pollution creates a powerful incentive for all polluting businesses to cut their pollution, by investing in clean technology or finding more efficient ways of operating.”
Central to the ALP policy on environment is a roll back of Coalition efforts to delegate more authority to the states.
An ALP government would deliver a new federal environment act within the first term of government. It would “create strong, well resourced, science-based, independent institutions to administer the law”. This would include a federal Environment Protection Authority and a National Environment Commission to provide federal leadership on environmental policy.
There would be legally binding national plans and standards to protect the environment.
Wilderness Society national campaign director Lyndon Schneiders said a National EPA would allow decisions to be made “in a more coherent way”.
It would be a “one-stop-shop in reverse” he said with authority anchored in the commonwealth.
Establishment of an independent EPA would be similar to the system in the US which enjoyed strong bipartisan support, Mr Schneiders said.
The environmental reforms include a land-clearing trigger in the EPBC.
Labor would also consider a National Parks trigger and an expanded water trigger.
Friday, November 02, 2018
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