Independent and Greens can help clean up pollution politics Media Release

Aug 24, 2010 - 12:30pm

The independents and Greens could provide improved parliamentary processes and help clean up Australia’s pollution politics that has seen a race to the bottom and costly uncertainty over the last 9 months, said The Climate Institute today.

“The election outcome could help pull Australia’s pollution politics out of the quagmire of scare campaigns, paranoia and deception from the major parties and big polluters,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

“We’ve been pleased by past actions and recent comments of returned cross bench independents and urge them to place cleaning up Australia’s pollution politics high on their agenda for discussions with both major parties.”

“Neither major party came up with a credible plan on pollution and climate change, let alone a plan to end uncertainty plaguing our energy generators that will lead to up to $2 billion a year in unnecessary electricity power costs for Australian businesses and households.

The Climate Institute gave the ALP one and a half stars out of five and the Coalition half a star out of five, but the Greens four stars for their election policies on pollution and climate change.  On the eve of the election campaign The Climate Institute and its partners Westpac, KPMG, AGL, GE, Pacific Hydro and Ogilvy Earth released a paper highlighting how uncertainty leads to unnecessary power prices.

“Australia can and must break out of the current quagmire of our pollution politics by enhancing the transparency and focus of decision making under the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme as well as more decisive measures on energy efficiency and clean energy.

“Rob Oakeshott’s proposed amendments to the CPRS had much to commend in them and his concept of a separate Authority to make, or at least recommend, decisions in areas like targets and industry assistance could provide greater transparency in ways similar to the UK’s Climate Change Committee.

“It could also help break Australia out of its dangerously self centred debate which ignores the reality of emerging action, particularly in Asia and Europe that could leave us behind in economic opportunities and exposed to economic penalties for not doing our fair share.”

“Regional Australia has much to gain from taking action on pollution and climate change.  Investments in clean energy and carbon farming have significant regional employment and other benefits.

Mr Connor also commented that his own experience working with NSW Independent Dr Peter Macdonald when he held the balance of power in the mid 1990s demonstrated the ability of minority government to deliver stable and positive government.

“The NSW minority Greiner/Fahey government not only delivered important breakthroughs in government transparency and accountability but also crucial advances in sustainable management of resources and environmental protection,” concluded Mr Connor.

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