Carbon laws’ second birthday present to Australia Media Release

Jul 01, 2014 - 6:30am

As the carbon laws turn two today, The Climate Institute emphasises the effectiveness of the suite of laws to date: Australia’s pollution is down, the nation’s energy mix is cleaner, and the economy is growing.

“As Australia’s carbon laws turn two the Government’s own data and reports highlight they are working to reduce pollution in a growing economy,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“The carbon laws that price and limit pollution have worked with the Renewable Energy Target and economic changes to achieve these results. As the fixed price moves into an emissions trading scheme from next year, default emission limits would see emissions fall by 15 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.”

“It would be a travesty if in the face of these facts Australia become the first nation in the world to dismantle a working carbon market, especially when our key trading partners, including the US and China, are moving in the direction of similar or more ambitious levels of action.”

The Climate Institute has released a Research Brief outlining all the ways in which the carbon laws are working. Some key headlines include:
  • Emissions are down. Total emissions from electricity consumption in the National Electricity Market are down by 5.3 million tonnes in the 12 months to May 2014. This means emissions from electricity generation have fallen by 17.2 million tonnes or 10.3 per cent since carbon pricing was introduced. The Government’s own assessments estimate the carbon laws will decrease national pollution by 40 million tonnes.
  • Our energy mix is cleaner. Electricity from renewables is up 38 per cent since June 2012 in the NEM. Meanwhile, the use of brown coal has fallen by 9 per cent and black coal by 9.5 per cent. 
  • The economy is growing. Contrary the scare campaigns, the carbon laws have not clobbered the economy. In fact growth was higher than expected (1.1 per cent) in the March quarter, with an annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent. Unemployment remains below 6 per cent and jobs in the renewable energy sector continue to grow. The Consumer Price Index impact has been less than expected. The latest figures show a 2.9 per cent rise in the year to March 2014, a rate that is within the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target range.
“The carbon price has not resulted in the catastrophic impacts predicted by opponents,” said Connor. “The understanding that the price impacts have not been as detrimental as some predicted have helped push public opinion in greater support of the laws, even as the Government seeks to repeal them.”

The Climate Institute recently released polling that found that for the first time more Australians support than oppose the carbon laws. Over a third (34 per cent) now  support the laws, up 6 points from 2012, while at the same time opposition has dropped off by 22 points to 30 per cent.

Australians want also the Government to take climate change more seriously, with 57 per cent of this view.

“The new Senate should not rush into repeal of these laws that are working - reducing pollution in a growing economy.”

For more information   

Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
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