Coalition launch leaves climate questions unanswered Media Release

Aug 09, 2010 - 1:30pm

The Coalition’s Campaign launch on Sunday left unanswered key questions about its policy on climate change and pollution and continued a week of policy inaction on climate change from both major parties, said The Climate Institute today.

“While we welcome the repeated support for the emissions reduction targets, we still do not see how the Coalition can achieve the minimum 2020 reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels let alone up to 25 per cent reductions,” said The Climate Institute’s CEO John Connor.

“The support for any stronger target than 5 per cent rings hollow as the Coalition, with its current plan to withdraw funding for climate support for developing nations and clean energy technology cooperation, is proposing an approach destructive to building global ambition.”

The Coalition is on record supporting the Government’s target range of 5 to 15 or 25 per cent reductions and the conditions on comparative global effort which would move beyond the 5 per cent minimum.

“How can Coalition plans to slash $178 million in funding for adaptation in developing countries and to withdraw investment in the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute be anything but direct assaults on Australia’s international commitments under the Copenhagen Accord and on our global climate diplomacy?” Mr Connor asked.

“The Coalition should explain how they will play a positive role in global climate talks.

“The launch also left unanswered questions about the impact of their policies on power prices because it, and the ALP, have failed to answer industry and our concerns about the impact of policy uncertainty on energy investment decisions.

“With the inevitability of a price tag on pollution this decade, and without more emphatic policies on energy efficiency and emissions standards for new power plants, numerous industry sources have pointed to higher power prices as industry is forced into cheaper to build but more expensive to operate generating options.”

Last month, a study for The Climate Institute backed by AGL and other Climate Partners including Westpac, KPMG, GE and Pac-Hydro found this uncertainty could cost the economy up to $2 billion in 2020.

“Finally, the Coalition’s launch did not explain how taxing Australians to pay for carbon reductions is not a Carbon Tax,” he said.

“Using tax payer money to pay big polluters is still a carbon tax and is less efficient, fair and effective than making businesses directly responsible for the pollution they cause.

“For either party to have a credible plan on pollution and climate change then they need a limit and a price tag on pollution so businesses are taking responsibility for their pollution and greater investments in making clean energy cheaper.”

This past week has seen no move on the Pollute-o-meter for either party or on their star rating.  On the quantitative Pollute-o-meter both major party policies witness ballooning pollution to 2020 and the ALP and Coalition attain one and a half versus half a star rating out of five, respectively.

For further information:
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute |  0413 968 475
Harriet Binet | Communications Director, The Climate Institute |  (02) 8239 6299 or  0402 588 384.

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