Only Targets Will Clarify Climate Confusion. Media Release

Oct 30, 2007 - 5:30am

Both major parties have back flipped into similar positions on post 2012 international climate agreements under the Kyoto Framework, but the real test on which both are silent is whether Australia’s economy will have targets to increase or reduce its pollution post 2012, the Climate Institute said today.

“Behind the confusion, the reality is that both major parties currently have very similar policies on what the future Kyoto framework will look like,” said John Connor, Chief Executive of the Climate Institute. “And both parties have committed to emission constraints in advance of other major emitting countries through their commitments to domestic emissions trading schemes.”

“Scientists tell us that to avoid dangerous climate change, the world’s greenhouse pollution needs to peak before 2015 and the political reality now seemingly acknowledged by both parties is that developed countries must lead the way. But neither party has committed Australia to leading global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change by committing to reversing rising greenhouse pollution with five years.”

The Climate Institute released today its updated Pollute-O-Meter report which includes recent announcements by the ALP in relation to solar schools and insulation for rental properties.  The Government’s re-allocation of 07/08 expenditure to create a $75 million renewable energy innovation fund could not be measured in the absence of targets to bring that technology to the market place.

“ALP policies still see pollution increasing by 18.4% by 2020. Coalition policies are projected to increase emissions by over 20%.”

“On our qualitative report card, which factors in the likely effects of policy decisions which don’t deliver immediate quantitative reductions in greenhouse pollution, both parties fail to pass the grade, but ALP remains ahead 40% to the Government’s 23% - largely because of their commitment to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which will bring economic benefits for Australian business and put Australia into a leading and more credible position for post 2012 international negotiations.”

“We welcome the Government's shift to allow developing countries to have different commitments. This was always envisaged as they way Kyoto would work and it remains the key architecture necessary to drive a global climate change solution. That is, developed nations must first commit to binding international emissions reduction targets while developing countries build on their existing domestic programs to avoid emissions and then take on further commitments. Without this Kyoto style approach no international consensus would be fair or possible.

“Let’s cut through the climate confusion and get a clear commitment from both parties to reverse our greenhouse pollution within the next five years and put Australia on a path to lead the world in avoiding dangerous climate change.”

BACKGROUND

Kyoto Myths:

Both parties wont take action unless developing countries do.

The ALP and the Coalition have already committed to emission constraints in advance of other major emitting countries through their commitments to domestic emissions trading schemes.

Developing countries are not taking action to reduce emissions.

As acknowledge by the Prime Ministers Task Group on Emission Trading many developing countries including China and India are undertaking action over and above their international obligations already. Overall, by 2010, policies in China are projected to avoid at least 200 million tonnes of GHG emissions. This is the equivalent of shutting down all of Australia’s power stations for more than a year. This figure could grow to at least 1,700 million tonnes per year by 2010, if China’s current energy efficiency target is met. This is the equivalent of shutting down Australia’s power stations for nearly a decade.

Action in advance of the developing world will stop economic growth.

Previous economic analysis by CSIRO, ABARE and the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change shows that the early introduction of carbon price is affordable to the wider Australian community and economy. The business roundtable report found GDP continues to grow 2.1% pa with early action and increases from $0.8 trillion in 2005 to $2 trillion in 2050. This occurs while Australia reduces emissions by 60%. ABARE’s modelling shows GDP continues to grow by around 2.2-2.3% pa with a 40-45% reduction in emissions. In general terms all of these scenarios assume Australia participates in global action, but that industrialised countries take the lead in reducing emissions.

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