Tony Abbott Direct Action Plan to Cause $40B Budget Blowout

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By Reissa Su | April 30, 2014 11:38 PM EST

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's climate change policies may cost as much as $40 billion by 2020.

REUTERS
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.

The Climate Institute said this amount will go higher if the policies will weaken the renewable energy target. The estimated budget cost will partly come from the payments of the big polluters seeking to help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is in line with the Abbott government's Direct Action plan.

According to reports, the cost will also be taken from the $2.55 billion in the first four years of implementing the Emissions Reduction Fund. Another $1.2 billion will also be needed each year there after.

Climate Institute Chief Executive John Connor said the Direct Action is "a friendless piece of policy" and only few people are trying to defend it.

Dr. Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University said Australia has to quadruple low carbon energy use in 2050 or risk the consequences of climate change to agriculture, coastal areas and tourism.

Other Required Climate Policy Options

The Australian government might not succeed in securing funding for its climate policy worth $1.45 billion of the AU$1.55 billion to pay big carbon emitters to reduce pollution.

Clive Palmer, who heads the Palmer United Party (PUP), which is set to control the Senate beginning in July, is prepared to vote against Abbott's Direct Action plan to fight climate change.

He said the party has no reason to support the Coalition government's plan. He added it was "hopeless." If the Direct Action policy fails to launch, Australia might be left without a climate policy to reduce greenhouse gases.

Australia is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses per capita with a target to reduce emissions by 5 percent by 2020.

Connor said the Abbott government should be looking at other options. But Palmer may be not like Direct Action but the PUP has pledged to help abolish the existing carbon tax policy.

If carbon tax repeal succeeds, Australia will have no climate policy unless the government can come up with a compromise before July.  

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(Photo: REUTERS / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses during the Commonwealth Government Meeting (CHOGM) opening ceremony in Colombo November 15, 2013.
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