Big businesses should support Govt regional clean tech investment Media Release

Aug 24, 2008 - 8:00pm

If businesses are serious about achieving a global climate agreement they should support calls to dedicate a proportion of permit auction revenue to assist developing countries join the global low-carbon economy and to help manage the impacts of climate change, said the Climate Institute today as it released a new report and global talks in Ghana swing in the balance
The policy report says that at least 10% of the Government’s revenue (potentially $11 billion dollars up to 2020) generated from the sale of carbon permits could help leverage the needed investment in new technology in developing countries to encourage and enable economic growth in tandem with cuts to carbon pollution.
“Unleashing the investment potential in developing countries opens huge export opportunities for Australian businesses to sell low-emissions technology and to continue to benefit from the economic growth in our region – if they are serious about climate action they will support this idea,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor.
“It will also add a fresh Australian negotiating asset in global climate talks which are swinging between positive ideas and old fashioned stalling from both developed and developing countries in Ghana’s capital Accra.
“Helping developing countries mitigate the unavoidable impacts of climate change would also help shield us from the financial pain that would inevitably follow if we instead stood by and allowed their economies, whose growth has helped ours, to be ravaged by climate change.”
The report shows that Australia can build on international momentum to use guaranteed streams of public funding to help unleash the additional private clean technology investments.
“With Australian leadership, public funding can be used to leverage billions of dollars from high income nations and private investment to be channelled into developing countries.”
The Australian Government says helping to shape a global deal is one of the three “pillars” of its Climate Change Strategy but the Green Paper is silent on the issue. 
“The lack of any policy suggestion of investing a small portion of revenues generated from the auction of carbon permits into regional economies is a gaping hole in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper,” Mr Connor said.
“We acknowledge that there will, and should be, additional budget contributions such as the welcome $150 million International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, but relying solely on annual budget allocations will have limited influence at critical international climate talks.
“As the Prime Minister said last week, Australia will only be able to help “lead and shape” global climate negotiations if the international community is convinced we are taking strong domestic action to reduce its emissions.
The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is an opportunity for Australia to help unleash the scale of clean technology investment needed in our developing country neighbours but will need strong domestic carbon pollution reduction targets and guaranteed financing to succeed.”
Note: Members of the EU and others such as Mexico propose similar schemes. A bill including such a scheme was debated in the US Senate with support from religious and development groups. In Australia there is support for use of dedicated revenues from faith, development, union and social welfare organisations through Make Poverty History and the Southern Cross Climate Coalition (ACTU, ACOSS, ACF & TCI). 
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