2013 carbon crunch -- climate policy priorities and pollute-o-meter Media Release

May 31, 2013 - 1:00am

The Climate Institute today released its climate policy benchmarks for the upcoming Federal Election. These benchmarks will be used to assess the positions of major and minor parties and key independents. The Institute’s Pollute-o-meter, measuring the emissions reduction of climate policies of the ALP and Coalition in the last two elections, also returns.
 

"Australia’s rollercoaster carbon politics hits a key intersection in 2013, which may well define our economic, diplomatic and climate future,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

“The next three years will see if Australia helps or hinders global climate solutions and negotiations towards the 2015 agreement which will cover all major emitters. We will also see if recent historic declines in domestic emissions from major sectors continue, if we can accelerate growing low carbon investments, and if we boost preparations for unavoidable climate impacts already hitting home.” 

At election time, The Climate Institute analyses what is required for Australia to contribute to effective global climate change solutions and build a prosperous, resilient economy and society. The 2013 benchmarks detailed in The Climate Institute’s Managing the Unavoidable while Avoiding the Unmanageable Policy Brieflaunched today include: 

  1. Cut carbon pollution: Ability to cut 2000 emissions 25 per cent by 2020 (both major parties have committed to 5 to 25 per cent) and around 60 per cent by 2030 (our share of helping to avoid 2°C warming, also a shared goal). Ratification of Kyoto II and investments in climate finance to further climate negotiations are also key.
  2. Accelerate low carbon investments: A carbon price or penalty that makes businesses take responsibility for their emissions and drive structural change in large emitting sectors; policy stability for renewable energy; a 30 per cent boost in energy productivity and greater corporate and investor transparency of emissions profiles.
  3. Prepare for climate impacts: Integrated assessment of the climate risks under 2°C and 4°C warming scenarios across infrastructure and Government agencies and in all appropriate national policies, standards, targets and oversight. (Over 190 countries have agreed to avoid 2°C but current commitments would deliver 4°C.) 
“Australia is the developed country most exposed to climate impacts. For the first time, The Climate Institute has included policy benchmarks that address the need to prepare for the climate momentum brought about by elevated greenhouse gas concentrations already in the atmosphere. Lack of preparation for the climate risks from worsening extremes of heat, rainfall, bushfire and drought puts the lives and livelihoods of Australians at risk,” Connor said.
 

"Australia also cannot hide from the fact that carbon markets and pricing are growing worldwide, from China to California to South Africa, and that the dropping costs of low carbon solutions raises risks for our high carbon economy.”

“We have written to all significant parties and independents with these benchmarks and will publish assessments through the campaign. We will also again be measuring the abatement potential of the policies of the Coalition and the ALP with an in depth modelling exercise to be published with our Pollute-o-meter, a feature in the elections of 2007 and 2010.”

“This year represents a carbon crunch for Australia. The shape of the next Parliament and Government will be crucial to whether we have strong and effective climate policies that enable Australia to be part of the climate and low carbon solutions, not part of the problem,” Connor concluded. 


For more information
Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

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