Budget delivers mild but promising climate for clean energy reform Media Release

May 14, 2008 - 6:59am

The Federal Budget was a mild but promising start to the challenge of unlocking Australia’s clean energy opportunities, said The Climate Institute today.

Attention now turns to the key decisions on the policies and trading scheme design to unlock those opportunities and allow Australia to play a leadership role in the global negotiations vital to our interest.

“While the 2008 Budget has delivered the pre-election promise of a solid start to unlocking the opportunities of a clean energy future, all eyes are now focused on the government’s real challenge to guarantee that the climate policies and trading scheme due later this year have a strong 2020 target,” said Mr John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute.

“It is these strong targets and policies that will generate significant dividends from the trading scheme to invest in the shift to a clean energy future – ensuring all new electricity load generation is clean, incentives for developing countries and assistance to those worst affected.”

“There are some clouds with a question mark over funding for hot rock and other renewable energy initiatives in the coming year, and a disappointing failure to fully tackle perverse subsidies encouraging corporate gas-guzzlers and greater use of polluting fuels.

“And we would have preferred greater investment in public transport and energy efficiency.  These and other clean energy and affordability measures will be critical to next year’s budget and the use of the Building Australia fund.

“But it must be recognised that there is daylight between this Budget and those delivered over the last decade and a half – there is a substantially improved investment in the opportunities of a clean energy future for Australia.

“There is funding to develop and implement key initiatives such as the emissions trading scheme and 20% renewable energy target for 2020, as well as a start to some important energy efficiency and affordability measures.”

“There are also welcome increases in funding to prepare for the impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable with extra support for the reef, farmers and overseas development assistance.”

The Climate Institute also welcomed the higher profile for climate change across the budget with repeated recognition that the costs of inaction will be much higher than the costs of action.

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