End the economic mismanagement of the national interest Media Release

Dec 16, 2009 - 2:39pm

The Government must seek to claw back some credibility from its economic mismanagement of our national interest by revisiting the target range decision and urgently implementing a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy and its renewable energy commitments, The Climate Institute said today as it released further analysis of the White Paper.

“The Government has opened an economic credibility deficit by identifying 450 ppm-e as in Australia’s national interest but falling short of the 25 per cent reduction target needed to achieve it, as part of a global effort,” Climate Institute CEO John Connor said today.

“In a further act of economic irresponsibility, the Government increased – from the level outlined in the July Green Paper - potential handouts in 2020 to polluters by 50 per cent, or $4.1 billion, while more than halving the energy efficiency or “carbon productivity” requirements. This is corporate welfare without the corporate cleanup.

“This $4.1 billion increase, means in 2020 polluters will receive 12.25 billion which dwarfs the $5.2 billion per year we estimated as the public and private investments needed from 2009 to 2020 in energy efficiency and clean energy infrastructure to help achieve a 25 per cent carbon pollution target and drive jobs and investment in a low-carbon economy.

“Instead of directly driving decisive investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the White paper package is stalling that investment.  The deficiencies of the White Paper highlight the urgency of breaking the deadlock and delay on the national strategy for energy efficiency and the 20 per cent renewable energy target, Mr Connor said.

Economic studies have shown that a comprehensive energy efficiency package would generate up to 40,000 jobs, and save almost two dollars a day on household energy. There are also major savings in the residential, commercial and manufacturing sectors – possibly up to 73%, 70% and 46%, respectively. The large scale roll out of energy efficiency in households could save consumers between $313 and $700 per year.

“Australia still must improve the ambition of the top end of its 2020 carbon pollution target range to 25% reductions if it is serious about the national interest, but it should also take urgent action on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Further analysis of the White Paper shows that:

  • Potential polluter free permits and support, which effectively transfers dollars from taxpayers to major polluters, amounts to $4.24 bn in 2010, $8.61bn in 2015 and $12.25bn in 2020
  • For each taxpayer this amounts to about $214, $412 and $552 respectively – with few conditions or oversight
  • The Government overinflates per capita effort under the 5 per cent target by 10 per cent because even without the CPRS, Australia’s per capita emissions would be 11% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • While repeatedly equating the per capita reductions between Europe’s 30 per cent reductions and Australia’s potential 15 per cent reductions, the Government neglects to state that this would still leave Australian absolute per capita emissions at 2.5 times Europe’s in 2020 – 18.6 tonnes to Europe’s 7.3 tonnes of carbon pollution
“It’s time we ended the economic mismanagement of our national interest and for the Government to live up to its clear electoral mandate for leadership on climate change with stronger targets and greater urgency on energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
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