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Australia to push for carbon capture to help cut emissions

Australia needs to cut its annual emissions to 462 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to meet its Paris Climate Accord target

Australia’s conservative government has agreed to bring in legislation that would allow carbon capture and storage projects to be backed by its Climate Solutions Fund. It would also provide credits to big polluters that cut their emissions intensity.

This comes in response to a report on new ways the government’s A$2 billion ($1.3 bn) Climate Solutions Fund, announced last year, could be used to curb emissions. The country remains short of its 2030 Paris Climate Accord target.

Australia needs to cut its annual emissions to 462 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-e) to meet its Paris Climate Accord target. This means reducing its emissions by at least 26 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Australia’s emissions are expected to fall to 511 Mt CO2-e in 2030 from 534 Mt CO2-e in 2020, according to government forecasts in December.

The government’s first carbon abatement fund, the Emissions Reduction Fund set up in 2014, committed A$2.2 billion for 190 million tonnes of emissions reductions through forest plantation and landfill gas capture projects.

The government agreed with recommendations that carbon capture and storage projects should be eligible for funding and that carbon credits be given to big polluters who significantly cut their emissions intensity.

However, green groups, including Greenpeace and the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, criticised the plans. They said the government would be paving the way to subsidise oil and gas producers and coal and gas-fired power plants.

FURTHER READING: Virgin Australia files for administration

FURTHER READING: Barclays sets 'net zero' carbon goal by 2050

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