Senator Boswell: Misleading and missing the point Media Release

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.

Yesterday 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.”

“Senator 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 the past.”

“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.

“If the 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 change.

“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.

“The 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 change. 

“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."

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