Australia to allow firms to buy international carbon credits: Greg Hunt

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Greg Hunt
Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt Greg Hunt/

Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Monday hinted at the possibility of allowing local firms to purchase international carbon credits to meet the targets pledged at the Paris conference on climate change. The minister signalled at the possibility after the climate change deal that was reached at the Paris conference over the weekend drew criticisms from the coalition MPs.

The global climate change deal, which aims to curb global warming by limiting the average rise in temperature within 1.5 degrees to 2 degrees centigrade, has been rubbished by West Australian backbencher Dennis Jensen and Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, meanwhile, said the deal indicates that there will be more job opportunities in the clean energy and renewables sector.

Hunt, in a round of media interviews on Monday, said that though the course of actions to be taken to contain the average rise in temperature within limit has not yet been decided, there were processes that would keep pressure on the governments to upgrade their efforts.

“The very nature of the Paris agreement was that the combined pledges of different countries added up to a 2.7C outcome or thereabouts and we argued for a process, so not just a Paris meeting but a Paris process, which would then have five-yearly reviews so as the world gets to and meets and beats the 2C target,” he told the ABC’s Radio National. “That’s a challenge for all nations of the world. We’re up for it.”

According to the Climate Change Authority and business groups, it would be beneficial for Australia to buy carbon credits from global markets. It would allow the country to reach its targets more economically than it would have through domestic reductions alone.

The matter of international units will be considered in 2017, according to Hunt. “I expect that we probably will take on board international units and that will give us the flexibility as we go into 2020 to re-pledge if needed.”

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