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Australian PM makes climate change pitch as election looms
[SYDNEY] Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged A$2 billion (S$1.9 billion) over the next 10 years in direct action to lower greenhouse gas emissions, making a climate pitch to voters ahead of elections due by May.
The government has been criticized by environmental groups for lacking a coherent policy to tackle climate change, having last year dropped a plan to legislate carbon emissions targets as part of National Energy Guarantee.
Mr Morrison said Australia will comfortably meet its Paris Agreement goal to lower emissions by 26-28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. "We must address climate change and, more importantly, we have been. We have been meeting our targets and we will meet those targets into the future," Mr Morrison said in an ABC TV interview.
The new Climate Solutions Fund announced by Mr Morrison is an extension of the Emissions Reduction Fund introduced by former prime minister Tony Abbott and will target small and medium-sized projects aimed at reducing emissions.
The main opposition Labor Party, currently leading in the polls, has said it will target a more ambitious 45 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and has pledged an extra A$10 billion in funding for large-scale renewable generation and storage projects.