Making an Election Promise: Put a Price on Carbon
As jockeying for the next federal election begins, WWF-Australia is warning politicians on all sides that we face an environmental crisis that needs urgent action – an emissions trading scheme is the issue. Meanwhile, Green Capital is organising pre-election forums to discuss sustainability, policy advocacy and the rise of community activism and its predicted impact on Australian businesses, communities and homes.
As jockeying for the next federal election begins, WWF-Australia is warning politicians on all sides that we face an environmental crisis that needs urgent action – not just words.
“Many Australians are angered by the Government’s back flip on its most important environmental policy – an emissions trading scheme,” said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.
“Kevin Rudd was voted into power on a wave of support for tackling climate change but rather than taking action, he and his party have decided to put it in the ‘too hard basket’ which is simply not good enough.
“Australia remains one of the biggest carbon polluters per capita in the world and has the sad dishonour of having the fastest rate of mammal extinction globally. Yet despite the disastrous impact of environmental mismanagement on our native species, livelihoods and the economy, action on the environment has too often been an afterthought.
“Both major parties made a commitment at the last election to implement an emissions trading scheme by 2011. Both have backed away from this, clearly showing they are not serious about protecting Australia’s environment and economy. The public can force action back onto the political agenda before the next election.”
WWF today released its proposed Priorities for the Next Australian Government, asking all major parties to:
· Prevent dangerous climate change and create new clean jobs by passing an emissions trading scheme by 2011.
· Restore Australia’s natural resilience to climate change by: strengthening laws to protect wildlife habitat, boosting funding for more protected areas on land and sea, employing more Indigenous rangers, and banning dangerous pesticides that harm the Great Barrier Reef.
“Any action to protect Australia’s environment will be futile in the long run without cutting Australia’s carbon pollution. Climate change is a threat no wild species can avoid.”
Economic experts hired by Coalition and Labor governments conclude an emissions trading scheme is the cheapest and most environmentally effective way to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution. Early action to reduce carbon pollution will also provide economic benefits, allowing Australia to position itself as a leader in the clean energy industry.
“While parties talk up the need for action, neither Labor nor the Coalition currently has a plan that will make the carbon pollution cuts Australia needs. This stubborn lack of action in the face of an overwhelming need for action is mind boggling,” said Mr Bourne.
“In the meantime Australia’s pollution continues to rise, temperatures go up and real government efforts to protect habitats to help animals and plants adapt to climate change slips off the agenda.
“The ongoing slide to extinction for thousands of native wildlife and plant species in this country should be a national outrage, we have the solutions we just need the political will,” Mr Bourne said.
Announcement from Green Capital:
Politics of Sustainability
An epic Federal election battle is looming! Join Green Capital’s unique pre-poll dissection of sustainability, policy advocacy and the rise of community activism and its predicted impact on Australian businesses, communities and homes.
Hear the experts, ask the hard questions, and decide for yourself.
Keynote speakers from the environment, union, social welfare and business will deconstruct the politics of sustainability, advocate policy and predict what’s next for the nation. The panel will then focus discussion on the business implications and the big political, economic and social dimensions of sustainability in coming years.
- Rudd’s Government has shelved its biggest 2007 election promise – the emissions trading scheme – and needs to desperately fire-up Plan B
- Opposition Environment Policy in chaos – the most sustainability savvy Conservative leader in Australian political history, Malcolm Turnbull, has been driven from the political leadership
- In the absence of government action – grassroots, consumer and shareholder activism is likely to increase
- The Greens are making inroads - Greens leader Nick McKim now sits in the Cabinet of a minority Labor Government in Tasmania; green preferences will be crucial in key federal seats; and the Greens are poised to take the balance of power in the Senate
The Big Questions
- Can it be taken for granted that a post-Global Financial Crisis nation is more worried about its hip-pocket in the here-and-now than a price on carbon to save the future?
- Whatever happened to corporate social responsibility – new laws or voluntary action?
- Does the Henry Tax Review lay out a future path?
- Can we achieve a green economy without political leadership driving the innovation, investment and jobs?
- Will sustainability drop off business radar, leaving it exposed to activism and legal suits?
- And, of course, who will Australia vote for? And what promises will advocates seek from the candidates at the moment of their greatest political sensitivity – the election campaign itself?
Speakers include: Tim Costello - World Vision, John Thwaites – Monash Sustainability Institute, Stephen Mayne – Mayne Report, and more in Melbourne. And Tony Maher – CFMEU, Julian Disney – UNSW, Bill Hurditch – Fifth Estate, and more in Sydney.
When: 7.30-10 am, Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Where: The Arts Centre: Spire Building, Level 8, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
When: 7.30-10 am, Thursday, 22 July 2010
Where: Sydney Hilton: The Stateroom, Level 2, 488 George St, Sydney