Climate change minister and professor Garnaut highlight need for broad climate reforms Media Release

Jun 06, 2008 - 8:43am

The independent Climate Institute today welcomed the contributions from Professor Garnaut and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong that highlight the importance of broad climate reforms to unlock the opportunities of a clean energy, low carbon economy. "The speeches from Professor Garnaut and Minister Wong mark a welcome return to maturity after a fortnight of petrol price populism," said Climate Institute CEO, John Connor.
 
“Both Professor Garnaut and Minister Wong emphasised the benefits of broad coverage of an ETS in terms of the assistance it could give to those affected and the investment that could be made in clean energy. “Including transport in the emissions trading scheme (ETS) is important to any credible long-term plan to reduce emissions.
 
Excluding it would not only most likely mean higher prices in other sectors such as electricity, it would also reduce the trading dividend important to providing the structural adjustment and assistance for affected businesses and families.”
 
Last week, the Climate Institute revealed that removing transport could reduce the ETS dividend by almost a quarter – between $1.2 and $3.5 billion in 2020 according to previous macro-economic modelling conducted for the Institute. The Climate Institute reacted more cautiously to Professor Garnaut’s proposal to set a fixed carbon price for the initial two years operation of the ETS.
 
“While there might be some logic in putting training wheels on the ETS to test it and better align the ETS with global arrangements post 2012, such a move would increase the importance of transitional and complimentary measures – such as clean energy and energy efficiency measures – plus clear and significant medium term reduction targets.
 
“Professor Garnaut clearly has this in mind when he referred to a ‘more demanding mitigation effort from the beginning of 2013’,” added Mr Connor.
 
“If Australia is to help achieve an effective global climate change deal so clearly in our long term interests, we need to have real reductions in our still increasing emissions by 2012 with significant reductions of at least 25 per cent on our 1990 levels by 2020,’ concluded Mr Connor.
 
“Long term plans to unlock the opportunities of a clean energy economy will need tough minded economic reforms, but like the tariff and competition policy reforms of previous decades, these are needed for Australia’s long term national interest.”
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