Welcome to Ministers Hunt and Macfarlane Media Release

Sep 17, 2013 - 10:30am

The Climate Institute congratulates the new ministers for Environment, Greg Hunt, and Industry, Ian Macfarlane, who take up their positions at a critical moment as Australia’s energy emissions have begun to decline but as a clean energy investment surge stalls due to uncertainty.  
“The Climate Institute congratulates Greg Hunt and Ian Macfarlane, who will play crucial roles in developing the new Government’s agenda and determine whether Australia can build on recent improvements in economic carbon competitiveness and work to achieve our national climate interest,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute. 

“We look forward to constructive dialogue around how the new government will honour its commitment to cutting emissions by 5-25 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. It was welcome and important that this commitment was repeated in the final days of the campaign.” 
“The test of a ‘strong and effective climate policy’, to use Mr Abbott’s words at the National Press Club, is the ability to develop policy which can credibly meet this full target range.” 

“The ability to achieve the 25 per cent target is important as this is our fair share of the global goal to keep global temperature rise to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, a goal that we are pleased that the Coalition continues to support. As the advance economy most exposed to climate impacts, this is our national climate interest goal.” 

Connor added: “The two Ministers come with a depth of experience and at a time when Australia’s energy emissions have begun to decline but as a clean energy investment surge stalls due to uncertainty particularly about the future of the legislated renewable energy target.”

“They come into their roles as key economies such as China and the United States are taking action on climate change, and as our recent research shows, Australians want our nation to be a leader in finding climate solutions.” 
A World Bank report  released in May found that from China to California, South Africa to the EU, carbon pricing initiatives are emerging. Over 40 national and 20 sub-national jurisdictions have either implemented or are considering mechanisms that put a price on carbon.

This  week China and California agree to work together on low carbon technology and emissions trading. 

“The Coalition should reveal how their alternative policies can meet the targets before they consider repealing the current policy, which while far from perfect, can meet that target range,” Connor said. 

“We look forward to a consultation process to examine the details and provide independent and public analysis of the Coalition’s proposed policies.”

Acting on climate change also provides an opportunity for Australia to reposition itself as a key player in the emerging global low carbon economy. Australia has made some recent gains but in The Climate Institute/GE Low Carbon Competitiveness Index of G20 nations we rank 17th

“There is a lot of work to be done on this issue which is as much economic as it is environmental. We look forward to working in good faith with the new Ministers and Government,” concluded Connor.

For more information

Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299

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