Moves from US and UK help momentum toward global agreement Media Release

Jun 29, 2009 - 9:49am

The Climate Institute welcomed the vote and called on all Australian political parties to refocus over the parliamentary winter break and ensure Australian clean energy and low carbon economic legislation, in the form of renewable energy and carbon pollution reduction legislation, is strengthened and passed.

And overnight UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an important speech which finally saw a leader from the developed world tackle the issue of international financing mechanisms to drive public and private investment in low carbon economic solutions and adaptation.  This issue, alongside emission reduction targets, will determine whether the world can reach an effective global climate agreement.  As the UK's Green Alliance Director Stephen Hales put it:

The world’s leaders have until now been locked in an apparently suicidal pact. They all know the cost of tackling climate change, and the moral and economic case for spending now. But they’ve refused to discuss how to share the bill. Today’s speech by Gordon Brown is a serious attempt to break the deadlock. His proposals could be the first big step towards a global agreement.

That will only happen if he works with others to develop and improve his proposals. The Prime Minister must go further, and quickly. He has under-estimated the bill, and not made clear what he will pay. The UK and others must make clear commitments to public spending both to prevent catastrophic climate change and to adapt to the effects that we cannot avoid.

The Climate Institute calls on the Australian Government and other political parties, if they are serious about backing an effective global agreement, to come forward with plans to drive low carbon industrial development here and around the world.

But while  there has been  positive  action in the UK and the US, action here in Australia has stalled.  This is not only high risk in terms of the climate crisis,  this is high risk in missing out on the low carbon economic  train that is leaving the station around the world.  As Gordon Brown noted in his speech last night (attached):

And last year, for the first time, global investment in renewables for power generation exceeded that for fossil fuels - making up $140 billion of an estimated $250 billion total investment.

And so the drive to a low carbon economy is not something to be delayed because of the global recession; instead it can be a powerful driver of global recovery.

The global market in low carbon goods and services is already worth £3 trillion and is expected to increase by around half again over the next decade; generating around another 400,000 jobs in the UK alone.

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