Nelson “comes in from the cold” on climate change Media Release

Jul 30, 2008 - 11:39am

The Climate Institute today welcomed the move by Brendan Nelson and the Coalition to step back from a climate policy deep freeze, but said all parties needed to back strong pollution reduction and investment targets as Australia is itself a major emitter – ranked in the top 20.
“The outcome achieved by Brendan Nelson is welcomed. It keeps the Coalition in play and potentially puts them back in step with the majority of voters, and the investment community, who recognise delaying action on climate change is risky and costly for Australia,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

“What we need to see now is a focus from all parties on supporting strong targets on pollution reduction and clean technology investment.
“Without strong targets we risk a ‘Clayton’s climate policy’  which won’t turn around our rising pollution, won’t give greater certainty for clean technology investors, and won’t allow us to be a positive player in the global climate talks so vital to Australia’s national interest.”
The Climate Institute highlighted how the coalition’s language about waiting to see what “major emitters” do, conveniently seems to forget that in fact Australia is itself a major emitter.
“Under Prime Ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd Australia has been participating in the Major Emitters Meetings reflecting the uncomfortable home truth that Australia is a member of the top twenty polluters on the planet and has a responsibility to act,” Mr Connor said.
Both the Shergold Report (p20) and the Garnaut Review’s Draft Report highlight that Australia is amongst the top 20 emitters in global negotiations. (See Figure 4.1 below from Garnaut p88)
“As both a developed country and a member of the major emitters club we have a responsibility to signal well in advance of the Copenhagen talks next year that we are prepared to act and shift from our high carbon, high polluting and highly inefficient economy.  Doing so will help build momentum and trust in global climate talks,” Mr Connor said.

“As a developed country with the technical expertise to be competitive in the emerging global low-carbon economy we risk jobs, investment and future prosperity if we retreat to the sidelines in both economic reform and global climate talks.”

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