Broad alliance points to common ground on climate policy Media Release

Jun 29, 2015 - 12:01am

This is a joint statement by the following organisations: The Climate Institute, Australian Aluminium Council, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Council of Social Service, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Industry Group, Business Council of Australia, Energy Supply Association of Australia, Investor Group on Climate Change and WWF Australia.

The Australian Climate Roundtable, an unprecedented alliance of major Australian business, union, research, environment, investor and social groups has come together to put the climate policy debate on common ground and offer a way forward.

The Australian Climate Roundtable discussions have involved the Australian Aluminium Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, The Climate Institute, the Energy Supply Association of Australia, the Investor Group on Climate Change and WWF Australia.

Australia’s major political parties support the global community’s goal of limiting climate change to less than 2°C above preindustrial levels. Australia should play its fair part in these efforts while maintaining and increasing its prosperity.

That important but challenging objective will require deep global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with most countries including Australia eventually reducing net emissions to zero or below. Net emissions are inclusive of trade in emissions entitlements and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. Emissions reductions on the necessary scale will require substantial change and present significant challenges in Australia as well as other countries. Well-designed policy will be important to manage the challenges along the way.

Our broad coalition has come together because climate change and climate policy both impact our missions and members. We believe Australia should play its fair part in global efforts to avoid 2°C and the serious economic, social and environmental impacts that unconstrained climate change would have on Australia. Avoiding unconstrained climate change will provide important benefits and opportunities to Australia.

Delayed, unpredictable and piecemeal action will increase the costs and challenges of achieving the goals and maximising the opportunities. We also know that policies won’t work if they don’t last and stay on investors’ radars. The foundations of climate policy need broad and durable support, and we all have a role in building it.

We found that groups with very different constituencies and missions have much in common and this is captured in our joint principles for climate policy, which we have released today.

This has been a tumultuous area of policy development on a major challenge for Australia that isn’t going away. We thought it important to reset the objectives, principles and key priorities to make the next phase of policy development as civil and constructive as possible.

Our principles address the goals of climate policy and the characteristics of policies to meet the goals. They don’t end debate or prescribe a single solution. The principles set out common ground on which more detailed policy can be built. We have discussed them with both major parties and look forward to further constructive dialogue. We encourage the Australian community to consider and support these principles.

The Australian Climate Roundtable will continue to work together to ensure that climate policy meets our nation’s economic, environmental and social needs.

The full Australian Climate Roundtable joint principles for climate policy, joint opinion article and associated infographics, factsheets and explainers can be found here, and click below for the joint press release.
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