Business Council risking ‘carbon protectionism’ Media Release

Aug 21, 2008 - 9:44am

 The Business Council of Australia report released today highlights the need for the Rudd Government to resist pressure to water down its Carbon Pollution Reductions Scheme and highlights the risk Australia faces of being dragged into ‘carbon protectionism’, said the Climate Institute.
“There appears to be a growing chorus of big carbon emitters calling for weak carbon targets and special treatment as part of the Government’s response to climate change,” said John Connor, Chief Executive of the Climate Institute.
“This is a recipe for taking Australia’s economy back to the bad old days of protectionism – this time it’s carbon protectionism. It would be a grave disservice to future generations by leaving them with a legacy of runaway climate change.”
“Overzealous protection of big polluters will just increase the cost of meeting carbon reduction targets on average households and the broader economy.
“Serious questions need to be raised why the Government should transfer billions of dollars of tax payers revenue to businesses who have known an emissions trading scheme was coming over a decade ago. The broader Australian economy should not have to pay for poor business decisions”
The Climate Institute does, however, welcome the Business Council of Australia’s recognition that any new emissions intensive investments should be world’s best practice in emissions efficiency. 
Australia’s national interest lies in achieving strong carbon reduction targets to ensure our children don’t suffer the full force of dangerous climate change.
Setting weak targets will also not allow Australia to leverage an effective global deal or position Australia for the clean energy economy of the 21st century,” said Mr Connor.
“The suggestion in the report released by the BCA that a ‘modest trajectory’ could operate alongside a stronger more ‘credible’ 2020 target, with the Government paying the difference by buying international permits, is really a prescription for a ballooning global carbon debt to be paid for by taxpayers and future generations.”
Targeted support for trade exposed emission intensive industries is required but must be tied to ensuring Australia can still meet strong reduction targets and drive world’s best practice in low carbon technologies.
The Climate Institute will examine the BCA’s new report in more detail as part of its analysis on the economic efficiency of the Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
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