Government, Opposition apply heat

IN a battle for the up-and-coming federal election, the Coalition this week announced it would plant 20 million trees in attempts to reduce greenhouse emissions by five per cent by 2020.

Secretary of the Clarence branch of Climate Change Australia, Janet Cavanaugh, said although Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s policy had merit, a better solution was needed.

“It’s what we should be doing anyway but I don’t want to see farmers delay taking action on their soil carbon in hopes that they will later get paid for it,” she said.

Under the policy, the Coalition will establish a $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund to provide direct incentives to industry and farmers to reduce CO2 emissions.

“The Coalition is just as weak in targets because five per cent is such a meaningless small number, we can do much better than that,” Ms Cavanaugh said.

“I think they should go back to the drawing board because we are capable of much better results,” she said.

The Opposition Leader’s policy, backed by the Liberal Party, is estimated to cost $3.2 billion over a four-year period, compared with the $40 billion that the Coalition claims the Government will spend on its Emissions Trading Scheme proposal.

Federal Nationals’ MP Luke Hartsuyker said he supported the announcement, saying that a Coalition Government would improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through direct action and practical local measures.

“The Coalition’s direct action plan is careful, costed and capped, reducing emissions and improving the environment without a great big new tax on everything,” he said.

“The Coalition’s climate change policy does not include any new or increased taxes.”

Mr Hartsuyker said the policy takes advantage of Australia’s natural comparable advantages of soil and sun.

“We will help families and businesses by providing incentives to help them reduce their carbon emissions through practical, effective and direct action that will also improve the local environment,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“This is in stark contrast to the Rudd Government’s great big tax on everything that will increase the costs of living for families.”

Labor policy

  • Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by five to 25 per cent.
  • An Emissions Trading Scheme is set to start in 2011, which will put a cap on emissions with charges applying to big polluters.
  • Plans are estimated to cost the federal budget $3.3 billion.
  • Government estimates the cost of living will rise by 1.1 per cent in the first two years of the scheme, costing households extra in electricity, gas and food prices.

Coalition policy

  • Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by five per cent by 2020.
  • 20 million trees to be planted to reduce greenhouse emissions.
  • Policy will cost $3.2 billion.
  • An emissions reduction fund will be set up to provide direct incentives to industry and farmers to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • The Coalition will give a $1000 rebate for either solar panels or hot water systems.


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