Aug 23, 2011 - 10:00am
The Climate Institute described the Clean Energy Future package as a vital and long overdue step forward. It captures the potential for Australia to cut pollution, clean up the economy, reduce energy waste and join the global effort to tackle climate change.
The drafting and implementation of legislation supporting this package will be critical to ensuring this potential realised.
In this submission three key issues that been indentified that need particular attention to ensure an economically, environmentally and politically robust set of Clean Energy legislation passes the Australian Parliament.
Key changes need to be made to the legislation:
- Honour Australia’s global commitments: Ensure the legislation, and its implementation, is consistent with Australia?s international commitments – this is relevant to Objects, Definitions and decision making criteria in the Bill.
- Instill integrity in carbon budgeting: Link shorter term pollution limits and reviews to the longer term cumulative 2050 carbon pollution budget.
- Ensure greater accountability and clearer liability: This applies to actions taken by the Minister in setting pollution caps and ability of third parties to challenge breaches of the Bill. The unusual ability of the Regulator to remit and waive penalties for non-compliance should be removed.
Other critical issues include more clearly defining the actions of other nations, carbon leakage and fuel arrangements in Productivity Commission reviews, and ensuring Clean Energy Investment Plans are consistent with the required reduction in pollution intensity of the sector.
In addition, to better mobilise finance to encourage clean energy investment, the Government should, alongside the Clean Energy Future package, implement changes to disclosure and reporting requirements upon corporations and institutional investors.
Finally, The Climate Institute sees no valid reason to either reduce the starting price or defer the introduction of this legislation. Failure to implement pollution pricing will see Australia?s pollution levels increase to around 20 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020. Delay is already costing the economy.