Reckless business risks Australia's climate future Media Release

Oct 31, 2008 - 12:33pm

Business voices calling for soft starts on emissions trading are recklessly misrepresenting Treasury modelling and putting self interest above the national interest, the Climate Institute said today.

“The Climate Change Minister confirmed on ABC’s Lateline last night that the Government is still considering all reduction scenarios up to 25 per cent off 1990 levels by 2020 – all of which come with strong economic and income growth,” said Climate Institute CEO John Connor

“Business voices who point to percentage reductions in industry growth from business as usual are wilfully and recklessly ignoring the reality of what the Treasury modelling indicates.

“It seems business groups such as the Minerals Council and AIG are prioritising short-term profits over long-term sustainability.”

Unless decisive action is taken Australia faces severe climate change impacts from increasing droughts, water shortages and the loss of natural systems such as the Great Barrier Reef which support the jobs of tens of thousands of Australians.

"With decisive action, we can also take advantage of the currently booming global clean energy market and create new industries and jobs for the long-term benefit of Australia,” Mr Connor said. 

“There is only a whisker of difference between the ongoing economic growth in all Treasury scenarios, but only the 25% reduction target has a whisker of international and scientific credibility – and a whisker of a chance of saving our reefs, water quality and farm productivity in the Murray Darling Basin.”

Analysis by the Climate Institute of Treasury Modelling shows that key sectors maintain strong economic growth if targets are set to reduce Australia’s pollution by credible levels of at least 25 per cent off 2000 levels (which because of land clearing reductions were very close to 1990 levels) by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050. (see download below)

The analysis shows that:

  • Non hydro renewable energy sector would grow by around 30-fold by 2050
  • Forestry would increase by nearly 23-fold by 2050
  • Iron Ore mining and agriculture would triple in output by 2050
  • Even industries such as coal mining continue to expand

“Many businesses have been delaying action on climate change for decades, which means there is no time left for a soft start.

"It’s time business stopped recklessly distorting economic analysis and we got on with the job of growing a low carbon economy starting with a reduction of at least 25 per cent off 1990 levels by 2020,” concluded Mr Connor

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