Multi million dollar scare campaign is wrong and reckless Media Release

Jun 22, 2012 - 7:41pm

The Climate Institute today warned a multi-million-dollar scare campaign by a narrow section of the business community is wrongly claiming that Australia’s pollution reduction policy package will be environmentally ineffective.

Institute CEO John Connor described claims being made by coal lobbyists and groups such as Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as wrong and reckless.

“This policy package can cut domestic pollution by over 100 million tonnes in 2020,” Mr Connor said (see Figure 1 below). This is before additional pollution reductions are factored in by driving clean energy investment in poorer nations.

“If we continue to act irresponsibly and fail to join other nations in driving clean energy investments our pollution will continue to grow by 100 million tonnes by 2020.

“Australia produces the highest pollution per person in the developed world, we are in the top 20 polluters overall and we have the eighth dirtiest power sector when it comes to carbon pollution.

“We make 1.5 per cent of global pollution, which may not sound much, but it's similar to the UK, Ukraine, South Korea and many other countries. If we add together our efforts to cut pollution, it will make a big difference.

“Arguing that we shouldn’t do our fair share to cut global emissions is a bludgers argument in addition to being wrong and reckless.

“Other nations are acting and this is creating a boom in global clean energy with almost a quarter of a trillion dollars invested in 2010. Up to three million people are employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide. Australia needs a pollution price to grab its full share of new jobs and industries.

“Responsible businesses understand the importance of taking action to avoid the ongoing costs of further delay.”

For example, the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees has said the Clean Energy Future package provided much-needed certainty for the industry and would drive greater investment in clean energy and clean technologies.

Earlier this month, international food giant Unilever stated:

“Unilever acknowledges that climate change is likely to have a growing impact on our business and we are planning ahead and reshaping our business on the assumption that we will be operating in an environment where there is a price on carbon. We strongly encourage political leaders to take ambitious steps to tackle climate change, both in Australia and elsewhere”.

“These are just some of a number of businesses playing their part and acting responsibly in this debate,” Mr Connor said.

“The job loss claims by coal lobbyists are not even backed by their own research that showed coal industry jobs would actually increase with a price on pollution.

“Rather than continue to invest in a scare campaign, the coal sector and others would be better off encouraging its members to join the global race and start investing in cleaner, lower pollution technologies and practices.”

For further information:
Giulia Baggio | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 03 9600 4039

Figure 1: Indicative estimates of additional domestic pollution reductions above Treasury forecasts.
Together, the combined effect of the pollution price and additional policies does, conservatively, indicate a domestic pollution levels declining over the coming decade. In total additional these measures could deliver reductions equivalent to taking over 90 per cent of Australia’s car fleet of the road for a year in 2020.


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