24 Jan 2009

Turnbull takes on the climate-change deniers

8:54 pm on 24 January 2009

Australian Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has taken on the climate-change deniers within his own Liberal Party by announcing a three-stage climate-change policy.

Centrepiece of the policy is a Green Carbon Initiative designed to offset greenhouse gases by means of biosequestration - the capture and storage of large quantities of carbon in soil and vegetation - as well as an emissions trading scheme.

The other two elements are greater building efficiency, which Mr Turnbull said was responsible for 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and increased investment in new technologies like clean coal.

The aim is to reduce carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions by an additional 150 million tonnes by 2020, over and above the trading scheme, which on its own, Mr Turnbull said, was not enough.

"We have to invest in industrial-scale carbon capture and storage, industrial-scale solar, industrial-scale geothermal energy," he said.

Critics not placated by policy

Greens Senator Christine Milne welcomed the broader approach but said the plan lacked detail and still protected coalminers, loggers and energy-hungry industries.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the speech was designed to distract attention from the Liberal Party's own internal divisions over the issue.

"This is the speech you make when you're a leader who can't control your own party and climate-change deniers stand behind you," she said.