Major parties selling out the national interest Media Release

Mar 10, 2009 - 3:33pm

The Government and the Opposition are continuing to “sell out” the national interest, the Climate Institute said today in its initial response to the Government’s release of the exposure draft legislation of Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

“Labor and Liberal are backing massive handouts to polluters which will not help our low-carbon economic recovery, or drive the new green jobs and investments growth we need,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

“The draft CPRS, married with weak pollution reduction targets, won’t deliver on jobs; won’t deliver on investment; won’t deliver on the economy and won’t help us avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change.

“This draft shouldn’t pass the Senate before emission reduction targets are strengthened, measures are in place to rein in and make transparent the excessive handouts to a few polluters and additional policies are in place to drive low emission investment and green jobs growth.

“Any way you look at this package – on jobs, on good economic management, on reducing emissions, it sells out on the national interest.”

Key amendments will be needed to the legislation, including:

  • stronger pollution reduction targets of at least 25% by 2020 below 2000 levels, as part of a global effort;
  • greater flexibility in the setting of targets – the legislated “caps and gateways”
  • stronger conditions and transparency for industries who receive assistance, or free permits, requiring them to demonstrate and achieve higher standards of energy efficiency and carbon productivity
  • greater share of the permit revenue for clean technology research and development and to help finance developing countries mitigation and adaptation efforts

The Government has admitted that stabilising greenhouse gas at 450 parts per million or lower is in our national interest, but failed to acknowledge that a target range of 5 to 15 per cent is well below Australia’s fair share of a global effort to achieve this national interest objective

“We acknowledge that the Minister will be required to consider how targets will help achieve the 450 ppm national interest test but this is legal, political and science fiction if constrained by an overriding commitment to just 5 to 15 per cent reductions.

“If the Coalition’s approach reflects the comments of Shadow spokesperson Andrew Robb on ABC’s Four Corners last night, with even greater handouts for the big polluters then they too will leave our economy rusted on to some of its most polluting parts and restrict the growth of cleaner industries,” Mr Connor said.

“The draft legislation lifts the bonnet on an underpowered engine that needs an urgent overhaul if its going to drive investment in cleaning up our inefficient economy and help deliver an effective global climate agreement.”

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