We must protect and conserve our land, air, oceans, reefs, fisheries and biodiversity: it’s our obligation to future generations of Australians.
Our Government acknowledges and accepts the challenge of addressing climate change. However, we do not believe we have to choose between preserving our environment and keeping our economy strong. That’s why we need practical policies. Our Government has announced a new $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package.
Unlike Labor’s plan, it won’t involve taking a wrecking ball to the economy and higher electricity prices. We’re absolutely on track to meet our 2020 Kyoto emissions reduction target – in fact, we’re expected to over-achieve on the goal by 367 million tonnes.
Not all other G20 countries can say the same – not Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the USA and Germany, who are not on track to meet their targets, let alone exceed them. Now, the task is to continue this record by meeting our international commitment to reduce our emissions by 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Our new Climate Solutions Fund will carry forward the work of the Emissions Reduction Fund, with an extra $2 billion investment over the next 10 years.
The ERF has already secured 193 million tonnes of emissions reduction through 477 projects across Australia. The Climate Solutions Fund will deliver additional nationwide climate solutions in partnership with businesses, local (including remote Indigenous) communities and farmers.
Agricultural projects will include revegetating degraded land and increasing soil carbon to improve farm productivity and resilience. The second pillar of our Climate Solutions Package is Australia’s renewable hydro-electricity reserves in the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania.
We have a rare opportunity to redesign these world-class assets into new pumped hydro stations, delivering 24/7 renewable and reliable power. Our meaningful, practical action on climate change is in stark contrast to Labor’s plan of a 45 per cent emissions reduction target.
The work shows that compared to our Government’s targets, Labor’s 45 per cent emissions target and 50 per cent renewable energy target will cost the economy an additional $472 billion, slash more than 336,000 jobs, cut the average wage by over $9,000 a year, and increase wholesale electricity prices by more than 58 per cent.
We need balance in Australia’s emissions reduction policies.
A plan that works.
The cool head as well as the passionate heart.
That’s our approach.
Scott Morrison is the Prime Minister of Australia