Polluters "missing millions" revealed Media Release

Mar 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Members of the big polluter lobby that claim reducing emissions is unaffordable have been forced to reveal that they are sitting on millions of dollars of energy efficiency savings, says a report, Business Council of Australia’s Missing Millions, released today by the independent Climate Institute.

“There has been many overblown claims by the big polluters on cost and jobs impacts of reducing emissions – a prime example being an influential report from the BCA that inflated costs yet ignored major energy efficiency savings,” Climate Institute CEO John Connor said.

“The polluters and the BCA have been forced to reveal the missing millions - here they are!”

The Climate Institute has examined BCA public company reports required for the first time under the Federal Government’s Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) Act.

On their own estimates, the big polluter members of the BCA can reduce carbon emissions by 3.1 million tonnes each year - the equivalent to taking 715,000 cars off the road - and reduce their future carbon costs by $71.3-$160.4 million each year.  These would be on investments which are paid back in four years and would add significant ongoing energy savings.

These reports cover just 46% of companies’ energy use, meaning potential for cost neutral savings of around 6.7 million tonnes of CO2-e per year – equivalent to carbon cost savings of over $150 million annually, enough to support over 3 000 jobs. Bigger energy efficiency savings are likely if companies invest in projects that have a slightly longer pay back period.  It doesn’t include other low cost pollution reduction opportunities, available beyond energy use.

“Big polluters have found to been ‘loose with the truth’ on costs while also refusing to come clean on what are emissions reduction targets needed for a safe climate,” Mr Connor said.

“People need to remember it was ever thus, as Tony Blair told the G8 last year: ‘Experience from past environmental issues such as acid rain and CFCs indicates that costs are often overstated; costs in both cases turned out to be less than a third of original estimates’.

“Behaviour of the polluters contrasts with other businesses such as the Property Council and many superannuation and investment companies who want to get on with the job of moving to a low-carbon economy.”

Calculations from the company reports also show that:

  • BHP Billiton has identified around 741,000 tonnes of carbon savings a year – equivalent to $17.3 - $38.9 million per year in reduced carbon liabilities. 
  • BlueScope Steel is sitting on carbon emissions reductions of 261,000 tonnes – equivalent to reduction carbon liabilities of $6.1 - $13.7 million.  

“A separate report has shown that because of extra free permits and energy efficiency requirements negotiated by the big polluters in 2010 alone, $1.9 billion will be effectively redirected from public funds and given to just 18 members of the BCA,” said Mr Connor

“Big polluters need to stop playing loose with the facts and get on with cleaning up their business; growing clean jobs and a clean economic recovery.”

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