Australia to set up US$740 million fund to develop low-emissions technology

SYDNEY : Australia will set up a AUS$1 billion (US$740 million) fund to invest in companies to develop low-emissions technology, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as the country seeks to cut carbon emissions and hit net-zero targets by 2050.

Under the plan, the federal government will commit AUS$500 million to the fund, matched by private investors, which will be used to back early stage companies in developing technologies including carbon capture and storage.

“Our plan to reach net zero by 2050 is an Australian one that’s focused on technology not taxes and this fund backs Australian companies to find new solutions,” Morrison said in a statement.

The federal government will introduce legislation to establish the fund, in order to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corp to fund carbon capture and storage, which is not allowed under its existing terms.

The move came a day after the federal government pledged AUS$178 million (US$132 million) to ramp up the rollout of hydrogen refuelling and charging stations for electric vehicles.

Australia, heavily reliant on exports of coal and gas, has been targeting carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen development to help cut emissions, while still allowing for the use of gas and coal.

Last month, Australia said it would target net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 to ease international criticism, but added it would not legislate the goal and instead rely on consumers and companies to drive emission reductions.

(US$1 = 1.3517 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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