Priority for Politicians: Put Price on Pollution
A broad coalition of conservation, community and employee organisations urges the new Government “to increase accountability and transparency on climate change policy and to ensure Australia moves quickly to establish a price on pollution and respond to climate change”. And at least one of the powerful independents now working with Government has a track record for action on climate change. Tony Windsor introduced a private member’s bill to radically cut Australia’s carbon emissions even before the Garnaut report was released.
Media announcement (8 September 2010):
Civil society statement on a credible plan on pollution and climate change:
We are a diverse group of leading civil society organisations that represent a broad cross-section of Australians.
We believe that Australia urgently needs a price on pollution as the cost cost-effective way to reduce our greenhouse pollution and its impacts on our climate, health, environment, and security.
We strongly support the establishment of a multi-partisan climate change committee as part of a broader effort to increase accountability and transparency on climate change policy and to ensure Australia moves quickly to establish a price on pollution and respond to climate change.
It is well established that the longer we delay action, the more expensive action will be. It is also well established that an equitable, efficient and effective response to climate change requires major polluters to take responsibility for the pollution they cause.
As citizens and consumers, we will share this responsibility.
A price on and commitments to reduce pollution, alongside the Renewable Energy Target and a national energy efficiency strategy, will provide incentives for business to shift to cleaner energy and products.
The current uncertainty surrounding pollution pricing has undermined investor confidence and is delaying the long-term investments that are necessary to shift to a cleaner economy and provide abatement opportunities for regional Australia.
There is strong community support for urgent action to tackle pollution and climate change. Most Australians recognise that pollution is currently at levels that threaten the wellbeing of our nation and the lives of the world’s poor — who are most at risk from the impacts of the changing climate.
We need to begin immediately to make the change to clean energy to ensure there is a future for all of the world’s children.
A credible and effective plan to reduce pollution and respond to climate change will release billions of dollars of new investments. This will make clean energy cheaper, ensure major emitters take responsibility for the pollution they cause, create thousands of new jobs in clean energy industries and new opportunities in regional Australia.
We urge the next Australian Government to include a strong platform for action on pollution and climate change.
Specifically, we urge all members and senators to commit the next Australian Parliament to implement a price and a limit on carbon pollution, effective from 2011, that will provide long-term confidence and encouragement to enable investments in clean technologies in Australia and developing countries, that will ensure that the vulnerable are not adversely impacted, and will set us on the right course to meet the challenge of climate change.
Signed by WWF-Australia and: 350.org Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Council of Social Services, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Climate Action Centre, Climate Action Network Australia, The Climate Institute, Climate Change Australia, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Environment Victoria, GetUp, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Oxfam Australia, Terrain Natural Resource Management, Total Environment Centre, Uniting Church in Australia, and World Vision Australia.
The Australian (6 September 2010):
TONY Windsor introduced a private member’s bill to radically cut Australia’s carbon emissions before the Garnaut report was even released.
The Member for New England proposed Australia’s carbon emissions be cut by at least 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 – and by 80 per cent by 2050.
Mr Windsor’s decision to vote against the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme has been read in some quarters as a sign he will back Tony Abbott’s ‘direct action’ approach to climate change.
But as the trio of country independents continue to weigh up their options, Mr Windsor has hinted the ambitious targets in his private member’s bill may not reflect his personal beliefs.
And he has played down the bill’s ambitious targets as a sign he could back a Labor-Greens minority government.
He described the private member’s bill as a “composite of what people in my electorate and other groups were saying”.
“As an independent I introduce what people want me to introduce, I don’t become the judge and jury. So there are plenty of things I have supported in the parliament that I personally don’t agree with. I try to judge the electorate’s view,” he said.
“I didn’t support the CPRS because I thought the 5 per cent was too low to rearrange the economy. If you are serious about climate change you’ve got to do something serious about it, rather than the tokenistic approach that the CPRS was,” he said.
The next government should re-think their approach to parliament, he said.
“What I have said, and I agree with the Greens on this particular point, I think we should step back from that (climate change) debate because it became very partisan in the annihilation of Malcolm Turnbull et cetera, so it’s probably a good opportunity in the hung parliament to step back again, reconsider, look at the options, you know, the real action that Tony Abbott talks about, the need for a market mechanism possibly, rather than debating the politics of it.”