Jun 24, 2012 - 11:09am
COAG’s positives moves on energy efficiency and renewable energy could be the political circuit breaker needed to progress negotiations over the Government’s emissions trading scheme, the independent Climate Institute told the Senate committee hearing today.
“We need the Government and Senate to use the bipartisan momentum generated by COAG to agree the improvements needed to the CPRS so we can get on with driving the investments and clean-energy jobs that our communities need,” said Erwin Jackson, Director Policy and Research at the Climate Institute.
“All parties need to realise that around the world the low carbon economic train is leaving the station. Delaying action and providing undue support for big polluters will strand us in a carbon ghetto and undermine investment in clean energy and other low carbon jobs and industries.
“The costs of climate change are upon us now, as are the job and economic opportunities of climate action.
“Delaying appropriate action would be a big mistake, rusting the Australian economy onto its inefficient and polluting base, exposing the economy and vulnerable communities to the impacts of high energy prices when economies rebound.”
The Climate Institute’s submission highlighted the importance of an effective emissions trading scheme as an important part of a broader package of policies including energy efficiency, clean energy incentives, low carbon infrastructure investments and financial regulatory reform.
While the legislation was described as providing a framework that has improved on many of the mistakes of other trading schemes, the Institute pointed to key amendments necessary before it could support the scheme. These focus on three main areas:
- Strengthening pollution reduction targets so Australia can do its fair share of at least 25% reductions of 1990 levels by 2020, in the context of global efforts, to help achieve the Government’s own statement of the national interest in stabilising global greenhouse gas levels to 450 ppm or lower;
- Ensuring public assistance to emission intensive trade exposed industries (EITEIs) and generators is more firmly linked to investment in the transition to low carbon technologies and that there is greater transparency both of those firms receiving support and of real and proxy carbon prices in competitor countries;
- Increasing the amount of permit revenue directed to low carbon technology research and to financing mitigation and/or adaptation in developing countries.
“Without these or similar amendments and commitments we risk poisoning the ambition in global climate talks and rusting the Australian economy onto its highly polluting and inefficient base,” Mr Jackson said.
“We need amendments and further action to help ensure a safer climate and jobs and investment in an Australian economy prospering in a low carbon world.”