Challenging the myths that challenge climate action Media Release

Dec 01, 2008 - 1:00am

The Climate Institute challenges a series of business myths which are threatening to hold back Australia’s clean-energy future, in a report released today.

The policy report Clearing the Air also reveals that clean energy investments averaging $5.2 billion each year from now until 2020 would facilitate commercial scale clean-energy options; create tens of thousands of jobs and unlock annual energy efficiency savings, estimated to reach $5.4 billion by 2020.

“Building a clean energy economy requires significant, but not unrealistic levels of investment and a ‘can do’ spirit - not a dark whispering campaign of myths from some major polluters,” said John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute.

“As negotiators gather at international talks in Poznan, Poland, and the Federal Cabinet prepares its final target emissions reduction ranges for 2020; it is important that we ‘clear the air’ regarding myths used by those seeking to stall or undermine action.

“Last week we challenged major polluters to come clean on what they thought were safe levels of global pollution and their 2020 targets – most have dodged both questions. In the meantime, 130 of leading Australian and global investors have shown leadership and called for developed countries, as a group, to reduce 1990-level emissions by 25-40% by 2020, as part of a global effort .”

Clearing the Air contains findings from the Climate Institute’s innovative online Australian Emissions Reduction Model, developed in conjunction with leading energy experts McLennan Magasanik Associates (MMA). This model shows that investments of $5 billion annually until 2020 could transition Australia from a high-carbon economy to a long-term prosperous, low-carbon economy and enable achievement of credible pollution reduction targets.

The analysis breaks down the investment requirements needed across energy efficiency, co-generation, renewable energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage till 2020.

“In addition we’ve debunked six of the key myths used by polluters – in relation to jobs, the economy, costs, competitiveness and the current financial crisis - seeking to shirk, shift or shrink their carbon pollution responsibilities,” Mr Connor said.

Clearing the Air concludes that unlocking clean energy potential and other investment opportunities requires a strong target of at least 25% reductions off 1990-level emissions by 2020, and policies including:

  • Decisive start to emissions trading
  • Clean energy deployment incentives, e.g. 20% renewable energy target, Carbon Capture and Storage and solar thermal energy incentives
  • Comprehensive national energy efficiency package
  • Job skills and training programs
  • Strategically targeted Government expenditure and fiscal measures
  • Revision of investment funds management to better integrate long term needs

“Tackling climate change requires a new dimension of leadership from government, community and business, it’s time we cleared the air and got on with investing in our future,” Mr Connor said.

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