Historic Carbon Vote a Win/Win for Economy and Global Action Media Release

Oct 12, 2011 - 8:54am

The Climate Institute welcomed today’s House of Representatives vote for the Clean Energy Future Legislation, saying it creates the potential for a win-win of a cleaner, more competitive economy and more credible co-operation to boost international actions to tackle climate change.

“With these laws, Australia can cut up to 1 billion tonnes of carbon pollution by 2020 – like taking over 200 million cars off the road for a year,” said The Climate Institute’s CEO, John Connor.

“For the first time in Australian history, our largest businesses will soon have to operate under a limit on the amount of carbon pollution they produce.”

“This vote creates the potential for a win-win of a cleaner, less wasteful, more competitive economy and greater credibility to help boost the efforts of Australia and other countries taking action.”

“The domestic task now is to ensure Government and private sector investments connect with climate solutions in clean energy, like solar, wind and geothermal power, and other opportunities like carbon farming and energy efficiency. 

“The existing Renewable Energy Target and policies that come with these laws, like the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund and Carbon Farming Initiative, can develop the technologies, skills and jobs crucial to reducing our economy’s dependence on carbon pollution.”

“Two top priorities now are to follow through on the Government’s commitment to develop a national energy savings scheme and to ensure long term investors, like superannuation funds and the Future Fund, better factor in systemic climate risks and low carbon economic opportunities.”

“Internationally, we can now credibly join other nations in addressing the risks and costs of accelerating climate change to which Australia is so exposed.”

“Current global commitments and action are significant but, so far, insufficient to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

“The potential of this legislation to drive strong pollution reductions at lowest cost will be crucial in allowing Australia to fully and fairly contribute to an outcome under the Kyoto Protocol and Climate Convention negotiations in Durban next month and beyond.”

“This has been an ugly and very long debate and we congratulate those who backed this legislation in the House of Representatives and urge the Senate to pass the legislation as quickly as possible.”

"Throughout this debate some have tried to frame a price on pollution as being a cost or a risk to Australia. In fact, it is all about creating opportunity for our country and we are pleased parliamentarians have recognised this today and voted in Australia's national interest."

Note: The 1 billion tonnes figure is the cumulative reduction from the projected business as usual pollution increase that would follow if Australia reduced its 2000 pollution levels by 25 per cent by 2020. Both the Government and the Liberal Party support reduction targets of 5 to 25 per cent dependent on global action.  

For further information and interviews 
John Connor  |  CEO, The Climate Institute  |  02 8239 6299
Giulia Baggio  |  Communications Director, The Climate Institute  | 03 9600 4039

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