Time running out for the lucky country Media Release

May 26, 2011 - 1:30pm

Leading research released today from GE again confirms that a delay in a carbon pollution pricing package represents economic risks to an Australian economy high on carbon pollution and low on carbon productivity when compared to competitors.

“Time is running out for the lucky country. Australia is reducing its economic dependence on carbon pollution at a slower rate than other major economies,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

GE’s Protecting Prosperity Report includes a “Clean Growth Index” which has Australia 13th out of the 19 G20 countries in terms of their carbon productivity improvements relative to GDP Growth (see Figure D in p8 Executive Summary – extracted below)).

“Carbon productivity is an emerging but crucial indicator of prosperity in the carbon constrained reality of the 21st century global economy, a reality recently acknowledged by many including BHP CEO Marius Kloppers, and GE’s global CEO Jeff Immelt.”

“The research confirms countries can reduce carbon pollution and increase economic growth.

The longer Australia delays the further ahead our major international competitors will get in maximising the economic opportunities of clean energy and low pollution productivity.”

Key findings from the research include:

  • The USA, Canada, Japan, Germany and the UK are reducing their economic dependence on pollution at a faster rate that Australia. China has outpaced all countries in their rate of pollution productivity improvements.
  • A variety of policies and approaches have been critical, UK and Germany’s improvements have not just been because of the “dash for gas” but also because of energy efficiency and other policies.
  • The key factors behind Australia’s performance is driven by our highly polluting power sector and the fact that Australia is very inefficient in its use and production of energy.
  • Australia’s current energy productivity is half that of Germany and two thirds that of the USA.
  • Australia’s electricity generation is 20 per cent more polluting than China’s and twice as polluting as Germany.

“The fact that other countries are decoupling economic growth and their electricity sector from polluting technologies highlights that Australia has many options sitting on the table that have already been implemented other nations. Australia has massive amounts of low hanging fruit and options to reduce pollution.”

“Taking action now will reduce the costs of delayed action and minimise the risks of our globally exposed pollution dependent economy, as the report notes ‘Australia will feel the effects of global action to reduce emissions sooner than some other countries.’”

“To ensure Australia remains competitive, protects its prosperity requires from the MPCC negotiations effective carbon pollution pricing, a National Energy Savings Initiative, clean energy investment support, Generator Emissions Performance Standards, Vehicle Emissions Performance Standards, and carbon farming and landscape resilience measures.”


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