Addresses the global context of climate change, emphasising the need for careful management of structural and technological changes to the economy and the need to be consistent with international action.
Introduces measures to reduce domestic emissions at least cost, through setting a long-term aspirational emissions reduction goal and emissions trading.
Emphasises the development of key low emissions technologies, improved energy efficiency and supporting households and communities.
Provides details of additional funding for science and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Highlights the pursuit of an international response to climate change.
The Government will introduce an Australian Emissions Trading System (AETS) as the primary mechanism for achieving a long-term emissions goal.
A long-term emissions reduction target will be set by 2008.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will lead and coordinate the implementation of emissions trading.
The Australian Treasury will be given the long-term responsibility for emissions trading as the price of carbon is seen essentially as an economic issue.
The Australian Treasury will also be equipped to advise the government on the economic impacts (described as 'macroeconomic, sectoral and distributional implications') of GHG emission reduction targets and will also act as the national regulator of the AETS.
A legislative framework for mandatory emissions and energy reporting is to be introduced this year.
All existing greenhouse programs are to be reviewed in 2008 to ensure they complement the AETS. The government intends to eliminate program duplication, including mandatory energy efficiency programs.
Seeking agreement by the state, territory and local governments to prevent new technology specific, mandatory schemes from being introduced or existing schemes extended.
Incentives will be considered for abatement action taken prior to commencement of the AETS, but there is no detail on what incentives or other credit will be available.
It is unclear in the climate change policy what the Government considers to be early action. For example, whether investment in renewable energy technologies or offset schemes are characterised as abatement action. There is no detail provided on the incentives available for early action or investment in existing schemes.
In relation to current offset programs, the Government cautions the purchasers of carbon neutral products and other offsets and suggests that products should be accredited by a reputable source.
Standards will be developed for robust and transparent offsets that can be accredited for use in the AETS.
Part of permit auction revenues and emissions fees may be kept aside in case it's necessary for the Government to re-enter the emissions trading market to purchase permits, under the AETS. The support of low emissions technology and energy efficiency is also a high priority for use of those revenues.
New funding for climate change
Increased funding ($44 million) for a new National Climate Change Adaptation Flagship, which will develop a simulator to integrate climate and water knowledge (comprising CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, Rural Development Corporations, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation).
Further funding ($126 million over five years) for a new Australian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation for activities that are consistent with the National Adaptation Framework agreed by the Council of Australian Governments' meeting on 13 April 2007. The framework includes possible actions to assist the most vulnerable sectors and regions, such as agriculture, biodiversity, fisheries, forestry, settlements and infrastructure, coastal, water resources, tourism and health to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Climate change has been placed on the agenda for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders September meeting in Sydney, to build consensus on an effective way forward to tackle the global issues.
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