Labor pledges to ditch the government's $4 billion emissions reduction fund

ALP leader Bill Shorten will scrap the central plank of the Coalition government’s climate change policy, which pays companies to reduce their pollution, if Labor wins the next election.

The opposition leader believes scrapping the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which he calls a waste of money that won’t work, will save $4.3 billion over 10 years, which can be redirected towards renewable energy or the budget deficit.

In a speech to be delivered in Sydney today, Shorten will outline Labor’s climate change policy saying he wants to make Australia a “clean energy superpower”.

The ALP will honour existing contracts, but is making climate change, carbon policy and renewable energy a key issue in the lead up to next year’s election.

“There is a better, cheaper, faster and more efficient way for Australia to tackle climate change,” his speech says.

The Coalition’s Direct Action carbon policy was introduced in 2013 after it came to power and scrapped Labor’s emissions trading scheme.

The ALP wants half Australia’s energy sourced from renewable sources by 2030 and plans to introduce an emissions trading scheme once again.

The Abbott government announced on Monday that it will cut the emission reduction target it will take to the Paris climate talks at the end of the year from 30% to 26-28% by 2030, based on 2005 levels, a move that has been strongly criticised by climate change experts.

In his speech, Shorten says Australia is “putting our inter­national competitiveness at risk” if it does not modernise the energy market using renewables.

It’s “not about leading the world — it’s about catching up”, the address says, going onto argue that renewable uptake is already well ahead of predictions and will continue to expand as production costs fall and battery storage improves.

Shorten believes jobs in the renewables sector will double to 40,000 in the next 15 years and that there will be a strong focus on rooftoop solar that will see prices fall.

“Mr Abbott’s right. This is, partly, a debate about electricity bills. He’s just on the wrong side,’’ his speech says.

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