Federal opposition unveils ‘blueprint’ for climate change
Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley unveiled in March the Labor Party's new blueprint for tackling climate change, including a commitment to reduce emissions by 60% by 2050.
The plan also rules out nuclear power, suggesting that the current government had misled the Australian people into a "false choice" between sustainability and prosperity.
The policy announcement was made at the Great Barrier Reef at which Mr Beazley made several promises in relation to climate change and a commitment to the principles of the Kyoto protocol.
He said that the Labor Party would ensure Australia takes advantage of economic benefits of sustainability, through the development of carbon-friendly technologies and emissions trading, citing the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative's Working Capital report, which claims sustainability will become a global industry worth US$2 trillion a year by 2012.
Beazley's sustainability platform included an increase and extension of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets, which renewables supporters and developers claim are necessary to keep investment in Australia.
Other key areas include the development of commercial solar, wind and geothermal energy technologies by Australian research - including a commitment to "rebuild the CSIRO" - and the establishment of a National Sustainability Council to monitor the performance of the entire country against agreed sustainability targets.
The climate campaign also promised to "top-up" funding through the First Home Owners Grant to improve the energy ratings of the home (ultimately resulting in lower water and energy costs to the consumer) and suggesting utilities pay the costs of installing solar water heating systems for suitable homes, with the consumer able to pay it off through the electricity bill.
Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry said he was glad to hear Labor expand on its previous commitments to tackling climate change, but said the 60% required interim targets to be set.
"The long-range target of 60% emissions cuts by 2050 should be complemented by a medium range target of 20% cuts by 2020," he said.
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