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Greens call for stop to fossil freeloading

Greens call for stop to fossil freeloading

Coal advocates should get their heads out of the ground and stop taking a free ride on the environment and public health, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Ms Fitzsimons, Green Energy spokesperson, was refuting claims by Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder that a carbon tax will distort the energy market.

"Don Elder is leading with his chin in claiming that a carbon tax would be 'distortionary' in the energy market," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"What has distorted the energy market for many decades is the subsidies to coal at the expense of the environment and people's health.

"An efficient, competitive economy can only function properly if enterprises have to pay for all the costs they cause.

"A carbon tax is a small step towards making coal pay for its contribution to climate change, air pollution, black lung disease, surface water pollution and landscape scarring from mining.

"Only when these costs are fully accounted for in the price of coal can there be a level playing field where it can compete fairly with wind, solar and hydro electricity."

Ms Fitzsimons said the energy industry must search for sustainable solutions to the impending energy crisis, not digging up fossils from the past.

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