Much at stake for Australias national climate interest: Election 2013 Media Release

Aug 05, 2013 - 10:00am

While climate change won’t be a major vote changer at this election, Australia’s next Parliament will determine whether Australia can help defend our national climate interest, boost low carbon competitiveness and improve preparations for climate impacts, said The Climate Institute today.

“There’s much at stake after this election for Australia’s national climate interest, for our carbon competitiveness and our readiness for costs of increasing climate impacts,” said John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

“The next Government will determine whether Australia will help or hinder global solutions to climate change as we enter 2014’s ‘year of ambition’ and 2015’s deadline for a global agreement on seeking to achieve the agreed goal of avoiding two degrees warming above pre-industrial levels."

“Keeping warming below this level is Australia’s national climate interest – but whether we help or hinder global progress depends on  both the credibility of our policies and the quality of our climate diplomacy. Since both parties share the goal of up to a  25 per cent reduction of Australia’s 2000 emission levels by 2020, a key test is whether their policies are capable of achieving this."

He added: “The next Government, and indeed Parliament, will also determine whether Australia continues the historic decline in domestic emissions in key sectors and accelerates low carbon investment."

“Australia has a high carbon, high risk economy lagging behind key nations and global trends in carbon competitiveness. Investment in low pollution solutions has been hampered by policy uncertainty that leaves Australia exposed in the real world of significant, if insufficient, action to price and constrain carbon."   

“The next Government will need to work with other governments at state and local level, as well as with business, to improve our readiness for increasing climate impacts already exacting significant human and economic costs.”

“We must stop walking backwards into the climate realities of the 21st century. We must prepare a framework of action and disclosure that looks at the very real risks of human suffering, economic losses and environmental impacts of both the 2 degrees goal and the 4 degrees warming we are currently heading for.”

The Climate Institute outlined its climate policy priorities in Managing the Unavoidable while Avoiding the Unmanageable and has released interim assessment of the policies of significant parties and independents at . It will release quantitative assessments of ALP and Coalition policies as well as a final update of all policies in the forthcoming weeks.

The Institute has also released updated benchmarks on Australian attitudes in its Climate of the Nation  2013  research, including focus groups and a nationally-representative online poll conducted in early June.

“Our research shows this election is no referendum on the carbon tax. Nonetheless, whoever wins this election faces major challenges in helping defend our national climate interest, boosting low carbon investment and improving our readiness for increasing extreme weather events and other climate impacts,’ concluded Connor.

For more information    
John Connor  | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299

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