posted at 00:50
Author Name: AFP
Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions
The so-called "Direct action" plan, which will see the government pay companies to increase energy efficiency, passed through the upper house Senate early Friday following a marathon debate. The bill is expected to be approved next month by the lower House of Representatives where the conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott has a majority. "We have delivered on our promise to implement an emissions reduction fund to ensure that there is real and practical action to achieve our emissions goals and targets without a carbon tax," Environment Minister Greg Hunt told reporters. 55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund is part of the government's plan to meet its emissions reduction target of five percent below 2000 levels by 2020. Under the plan, competitive auctions will be held, with the government entering into contracts to buy emissions reductions from successful bidders at the lowest cost, Hunt said. As part of the government's deal with mining magnate Clive Palmer's party, Hunt agreed to keep the Climate Change Authority and set up a three-stage, 18-month inquiry into an emissions trading scheme. The government had been planning to abolish the CCA, an independent climate change agency set up by the previous government. Although the government rejected setting aside some of the fund to purchase international carbon credits, environmental economist Caroline Sullivan said similar offset schemes within Australia should be considered.

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