Labor has already detailed its $20 billion Rewiring the Nation plan, which will provide cheap loans to private companies to build clean power generation assets and expand the eastern seaboard’s network of electricity poles and wires to reach a target of 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Bowen said this week he would release in coming days details of plans for a beefed-up “safeguard mechanism”, which will tighten emissions caps on the country’s 215 biggest polluters, which collectively generate about 28 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gases.
The companies, including Rio Tinto, would have a range of options to cut their pollution, including green technology, emissions offsets or emissions capture. For example, a smelter could replace its gas-fired furnaces with clean technology, or it could offset emissions by investing in projects that use natural processes such as tree planting to sequester carbon from the atmosphere into trees or the soil.
Another option would allow a company to offset its emissions by buying credits earned by other polluters who had cut emissions beyond their pollution limits and had extra to spare.
Rio Tinto in June called for proposals to develop a massive four gigawatts of renewable electricity to decarbonise its two alumina refineries and one smelter in Gladstone, Queensland, by 2030. Last year, the company more than tripled its 2030 carbon-reduction targets to 50 per cent, from 15 per cent, and committed to spending $US7.5 billion on decarbonisation investments by the end of the decade.
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