Nov 26, 2008 - 10:34am
The independent Climate Institute describes yesterday’s attack from
Senator Boswell as misleading and missing the point on the importance
both of balance from business leaders and the way which Australia can
help the global effort to fight climate change.
“I respect the
many years of public service of Senator Boswell but, frankly, on this
issue and with yesterday’s release he is doing himself and the people he
represents a disservice,” said John Connor, Climate Institute CEO.
Senator Boswell claimed The Climate Institute’s statement that “strong
targets can help us play an important role in international
negotiations” was an “absolute furphy”. He also claimed that the
campaign asking business leaders to share their long term targets was
“intimidation”, and claimed the Institute was “just acting as a
political mouthpiece for its board members like former Labor Chief
Administrator of the Northern Territory, Clare Martin.”
Boswell joins the chorus of those who claim Australia can’t make a
difference as we represent 1.5% of global emissions. Let’s be blunt,
this is a bludgers argument.
It ignores the facts that Australia
is amongst the highest per capita polluters, is amongst the top 20
global polluters, and that countries like UK have similar levels. It
ignores the reality that Australia is the developed country most at risk
from climate change and that it is in our interests to help forge an
effective global agreement.”
“It also ignores Australia’s proud,
and not so proud, history of being an influential ‘middle power’ from
leading the ban on mining in Antarctica to derailing climate talks in
“Senator Boswell also misses the point on our request
to business leaders to come clean on their 2020 and long term targets.
This is a reasonable request for balance from influential stakeholders,
many of whom are seeking millions of dollars worth of public subsidies
or special treatment. We don’t think it is fair that business simply
express a view on short term and not long term objectives – that
approach helped precipitate the current financial crisis.
Senator examined our policy positions he would see we don’t oppose
structural adjustment assistance but merely request this be linked to
clean technology outcomes.”
“Finally, the Senator conveniently
omitted that our Board also contains former Liberal MP Susan Jeanes
focusing just on Ms Martin. We are proud to have Ms Martin on the Board
with her communications and political experience and also with the
insights she brings as CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service,
reminding us that the poor will be amongst the worst hit from climate
“The Board is chaired by Mark Wootton a farmer from the
Western Districts of Victoria with leading experts in atmospheric
science, energy economics, public health and communication.
Climate Institute is a fiercely independent and non-partisan
organisation willing to work with any group developing low carbon
solutions. We have criticised and welcomed initiatives of both the Rudd
and Howard Governments and, for example, we work with regional farmers
and organisations preparing for the opportunities and risks of climate
“The Nationals are unfortunately backing policies of
extreme delay for Australia’s response to climate change while rural
independents such as Tony Windsor push for action. I would urge the
Nationals and Senator Boswell to review their policies and be more
relevant to this very real challenge to those they claim to represent.
We would be delighted to help."