Investment is key to a 4th July carbon Independence day Media Release

Jun 04, 2008 - 7:44am

The independent Climate Institute today broadly welcomed the Garnaut Review’s draft report which lays bare the stark costs for Australia of inaction on climate change and urged the Government to focus on investment in clean energy and low carbon technologies in its consideration of the report.

“If the Government responds with the right policies, today, the fourth of July, would mark an important step towards carbon independence day. Professor Garnaut’s report adds urgency for Australia’s journey away from the fatal shores of our high carbon economy, said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“Arriving at a low carbon economy will require policies that create powerful low carbon investment engines to grow the economy and jobs. The Government’s industry focus needs to be on investment and support, not compensation, to assist the transition of our economy to using clean energy and low carbon technologies.”

“Any assistance for generators or emissions intensive industries genuinely impacted by emissions trading needs to be connected to supporting a transition to clean energy and low carbon outcomes.  We broadly support the draft report’s comments in this regard.”

The Climate Institute broadly welcomed the recommendations of the Review but expressed some concern about proposals for a soft start to the emissions trading scheme (ETS).

“Any suggestion to put an ETS on training wheels would require ramping up other measures like clean energy incentives, energy efficiency reforms and public transport investments.”

The Garnaut report is to be followed in two weeks by the Government’s Green Paper and it is important that the Government remains focussed on the big picture now and throughout the year in preparation for the release of its detailed response in December.

“Today marks the start of a critical phase in our response to climate change and it’s important we remain focussed on the main game, there are three key tests,” concluded Mr Connor.

  1. Reversing Australia’s still-rising greenhouse pollution by 2012 - data released last week showed continuing increases with the biggest spikes from electricity generation, up 53 per cent between 1990-2006, and transport, up 27.4 per cent during the same period. We should, and can, reverse this trend by 2012 with reductions of at least 25 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.
  2. Leadership to achieve an effective global agreement -  Australia can only help to achieve the global climate agreement so vital to our long term national interest if we are committing to reduce our emissions, but also signal that we will invest in clean technology in developing countries and help them prepare for unavoidable climate impacts. A guaranteed proportion of the emissions trading revenues should be set aside for such assistance.
  3. Making Australia competitive in the global low carbon economy - Meeting emission reduction targets and building the clean-energy alternatives will generate trillions of dollars of investment opportunities.  Australia needs policies to ensure all new electricity load generation comes from clean energy and that support, not hinder, investment in clean energy and low carbon technologies.
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