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$80 green rego jolt to cut carbon emissions

| Sourced From Weeklytimesnow |

CAR owners will face an additional $80 payment on their vehicle registration under a new plan to cut Victoria’s carbon emissions.
The State Government’s white paper on climate change, to be launched today, will offer drivers the option of paying a voluntary fee of up to $80 to bankroll a 20 per cent cut in Victoria’s greenhouse gas emission by 2020, the Herald Sun reports.

The additional $80 rego payment will go towards planting more trees and changing farming practices.

But environmentalists warn the Government’s target of 30 million tonnes of pollution abatement within the next decade can happen only through huge changes such as replacing the whole of Hazelwood power station with clean energy.

Victoria’s climate change targets are in marked contrast to other states and the Federal Labor Party’s environmental policy launched last week, which was high on rhetoric and low on targets.

Premier John Brumby said that if Victoria made “significant progress” on reductions, even stronger climate change policies would be introduced in 2014.

In an Australian first, Victorian drivers will, however, be asked to choose whether they want to offset some or all of their car’s emissions.

The car owners can pay as little as $1 or up to $80 to offset 100 per cent of their car’s greenhouse gases.

The State Government is hoping as many as 20 per cent of the 4.5 million owners of registered vehicles in Victoria will choose to spend money to offset their emissions – generating more than $70 million.

“But even if only 10 per cent of drivers opt to offset all their emissions, Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by over one million tonnes each year,” Mr Brumby said.

Car fumes account for 16 per cent of Victoria’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the State Government.

The new laws will also double the rebate for hybrid car owners to $100. Only 6500 hybrid cars were registered in the past two years.

Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said this proposal was “head and shoulders above” any other state or federal government emissions reductions target in Australia.

But she warned that achieving the target of emissions reductions of 20 per cent by 2020 would be difficult.

Mr Brumby admitted reaching the goal of cutting the emission levels in 2000 by 20 per cent within 10 years would require a “transformation” of how Victorians generated and used electricity.

The Climate Change Action Plan will also force the Government to ensure the impact of climate change is taken into consideration in all decisions.

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