Australia lurches backwards as pollution is free again Media Release

Jul 17, 2014 - 11:30am

By repealing laws that price and limit carbon pollution, Australia today became the world’s first country to dismantle a functioning and effective carbon market, taking a monumentally reckless backward leap even as other major countries are stepping up climate action, said The Climate Institute.

“Today’s repeal of laws that price and limit carbon pollution is an historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

Today’s repeal of laws that price and limit carbon pollution is an historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness.
“With the Senate’s vote today, Australia not only lurches to the back of the pack of countries taking action on climate, but sees the responsibility of emission reductions shift from major polluters to the taxpayer.”

“Today we lose a credible framework of limiting pollution that was a firm foundation for a fair dinkum Australian contribution to global climate efforts.” 

“What we are left with as potential replacement policy rests on three wobbly legs – a Government fund subject to an annual budgetary arm wrestle, uncertain non-binding limits on some company emissions, and a renewable energy target under assault.”

“No modelling to date, independent or from the Government, has shown that the proposed replacement policy can  reduce Australia’s pollution or achieve the minimum bipartisan emissions reduction target of five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, let alone the more ambitious up to 25 per cent cut that Australia is still committed to internationally. The Government’s own modelling shows that without a credible price and limit on pollution, our emissions will increase by 30 per cent over the next 15 years.”

“The result of repeal today is that Australia is bereft of credible climate policy just as the international community focuses on deeper reduction targets for 2025 and 2030, and even the heads of organisations like the International Monetary Fund, OECD and World Bank talk of the need to completely decarbonise the global economy by the second half of this century.”

“The last seven years have been a sorry and sordid tale of greed, incompetence and rotten luck, which has reduced Australian policy making to scaremongering, self-interest and reckless short termism,” said Connor.

“If there is any solace to be taken, it’s that we now have two years of experience of carbon laws that have worked reducing pollution in a growing economy, with minimal price impacts, as predicted.”

“We also appear not to have lost all the house furniture, with important elements such as the renewable energy target, the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA looking like they may survive. And the focus on emissions trading is set to continue in Australian political debate.”

“A further solace is that Australian public attitudes and hunger for action is rebounding. The most reckless act today may yet turn out to be the Government’s disconnect from this rebound in public sentiment.” 

“Climate politics has been a roller-coaster for nearly a decade and all parties share some responsibility for today’s decision. But that roller-coaster ride doesn’t end today – it just gets more intense.”

For more information
John Connor | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
Garrett Stringer | Communications Manager, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299
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