Government misleads on impact of credible carbon pollution limits Media Release

Apr 02, 2014 - 11:00am

The Government either misunderstands or is deliberately misleading Australians on the impact of more credible carbon pollution limits, The Climate Institute said today.

"The Government’s suggestion that Australia implementing more credible pollution limits will increase our price on carbon is uninformed at best and deliberately misleading at worst," said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, in response to recent Government comments that accepting the independent Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a more credible 2020 target of 15 per cent reduction would require an even bigger carbon price.

"All independent  advice from groups such as the Climate Change Authority, the Treasury  and even from business such as the Australian Industry  Group  say that under an internationally linked carbon market, more credible emission targets don't impact on carbon prices in Australia."

“It would only be true under a policy of carbon isolationism that quarantines Australia from existing and emerging international carbon markets.  This is not a position supported by business and is only supported by the Government on its minimum 2020 carbon pollution reduction commitment of 5 per cent reduction off 2000 levels. ”

"The global carbon market involved the trade of billions of tonnes of emission reductions and a few extra million tonnes of demand for emission reductions will have next to zero impact on global carbon prices. It is these that determine Australian carbon prices -- not our emission reduction ambitions."

"Just last week Minister Hunt reminded us that the Government, along with the ALP, support a minimum 5 per cent but, depending on achievement of shared conditions, up to 15 per cent or 25 per cent targets.”

Speaking at a Doorstop at Parliament House on March 27, Hunt said: 
“Look, we're committed to the current five per cent. We've always said there would be review going into the late 2015 conference. Until this moment there's been bipartisan support on the targets and the conditions for any change.” 

In the pre-election debate on 11 August 2013, the now Prime Minister said when asked about commitments to move beyond 5 per cent said (see factsheet on Coalition commitments). He said:
“We’ve always said that if circumstances change we will adjust appropriately.”

Connor added: “These conditions have enjoyed bipartisan support since 2009 and it is those conditions that were reviewed by the independent Climate Change Authority with a Board chaired by a former Reserve Bank Governor and including the former head of the AIG and Australia’s Chief Scientist.”

"All credible analysis has shown that the conditions for moving to stronger targets of at least 15 per cent have been met. The Authority recommended a 19 per cent target.”

“Circumstances have changed and in China next week the Prime Minister can discuss the emerging carbon markets there – the sixth pilot emissions trading scheme starts this week in Hubei.”

“The ALP and the Government should declare their hand on their response to the Climate Change Authority, indeed the Government is required by law to do so by May 31.”

"The world's top scientists have just outlined the real and significant threats to Australians and our economy from more extreme heat waves, floods, droughts and bush fires. Australians need evidence based leadership from all sides of politics to address this fundamental challenge to our country. 

“Slogans and scaremongering will not help make climate change stop. Only real and credible carbon pollution limits will.”

For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299

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