Parliament stumbles as world moves on climate change Media Release

Dec 02, 2009 - 3:30pm

The Australian Parliament has stumbled on action to address climate change and create clean energy investment, jobs and industries as our economic competitors position themselves to cash in on the emerging global low-carbon economy, The Climate Institute said today after defeat of the amended CPRS in the Senate.   

 “The defeat of the CPRS is a not only a stumble for Australia doing its bit on climate change, it is an economic stumble, and a competitiveness stumble for Australia,” John Connor, Climate Institute CEO said.

 “The low-carbon train is leaving the station around the world and Australia is haemorrhaging investments in clean energy industries and technology to competitors in developed and developing countries.

 “It’s difficult to see what option there is to avoid another 12 months or more of political squabbling and scaremongering than to let the people decide action through a double dissolution election.”

 In recent weeks, we have seen countries as diverse as Norway, South Korea, Brazil and Japan increase their level of ambition at global talks and through strong domestic policies and China and the US starting to battle over who will be the dominant power in the clean energy economy.

 “It’s a sad irony that while the US and China are investing billions in renewable energy and battling over who will lead the clean energy economy, Australian politicians are squabbling in the “domestic playground” of party politics.

 “More delay, denial and dragging out debate on the CPRS for a year or more creates uncertainty for business that would see them haemorrhaging money, jobs and investments.

 The amended CPRS provided good architecture but needs to be backed by urgent domestic action in areas like energy efficiency and clean energy deployment.

Meanwhile, The Climate Institute acknowledged comments from the new Liberal Party leader Tony Abbot to support the target emissions reduction of 5% to 25% off 2000 levels by 2020 but said the party had to put forward a credible alternative mechanism.

“Mr Abbot’s recognition of the science of climate change and his support for the Government’s target range is welcome but without a detailed plan of how to achieve these outcomes it lacks credibility,” Mr Connor said.

“If the politicians can’t negotiate effective climate policy then it may need to be the public, who overwhelmingly want action on climate change, to decide whether Australia moves forwards or backwards.”

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