Pollution reduction and cleaner industries don't come for free Media Release

Mar 03, 2011 - 2:30am

The Climate Institute clarified a number of claims made in Question Time today regarding its recent Clean Energy Jobs research which has not fully or fairly represented the research findings. 

“Our research shows that there is a net increase in employment in the electricity sector even with decisive action to reduce pollution and grow cleaner industries in Australia,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute. 

“Economy wide modelling undertaken by Professor Garnaut, Treasury, The Climate Institute and others all show reducing our economic dependence on pollution happens hand in hand with a growing economy.” 

“The operative carbon price implicit in our research was also a matter of question in Parliament House today.

“We have stated that a starting pollution price of at least $25/tonne, in combination with clean energy policies such as the Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency policies, is needed to drive a switch away from investments in polluting industries and into new low pollution technologies.

“In the absence of the Renewable Energy Target pollution prices would need to be much higher to drive the equivalent growth in clean energy investment.

“A price on carbon pollution is a necessary but not sufficient part of the policy package needed.  That said, our research shows a 2020 price of greater than $60 is needed if we are to be seriously switching to a cleaner, growing low carbon economy.   

Our research applied, as a starting point, Treasury modelling of global pollution prices assumed for the Garnaut 25 percent pollution reduction scenario (2009 AU$45/tonne in 2012) and the CPRS 15 percent scenario which is 2009 AU$36/tonne in 2012. 

“The analysis demonstrates the lower the starting price the greater the need for complementary policies and other regulations to start to unlock Australia’s true clean energy and low pollution industry potential.  

“But it is important to recognise that pollution reduction and cleaner industries don’t come for free, you need a real and credible starting price and for investors to see substantial long term growth in investment incentives.

Also a number of claims have been made job losses in the mining sector. As Mitchell Hooke, CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia, said to the CPRS Senate inquiry in 2009 on the impact of job in the sector that, "we are not suggesting this is scorched earth. We know we are going to continue to grow."

Recent projections of coal industry employment, including those quoted in the Parliament today,   actually show significant employment growth from current levels. Three recent studies project employment growth through to 2020 varying from around 10,000 to 16,000 new jobs in addition to the 35,000 coal industry jobs in 2008. (See figure below.) 

All of the Clean Energy Jobs research and methodology can be found here.

For more information:
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute |  02 8239 6299

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