Government backdown on climate change unwelcome
The announcement today by the Prime Minister of further weakening of the emissions trading scheme is not welcome, says the Chairman of the Environmental Defence Society, Gary Taylor.
"Action on climate change needs to be committed and urgent," said Mr Taylor. "It was never going to be easy and is about changing behaviour to support a low carbon economy."
"We have had relentless gaming of the proposal by vested self-interests for weeks now and the message here is that works. If you are a big carbon emitter you just throw resources into a campaign and the government will back down."
"We saw that with the proposed carbon tax and then with forestry."
"It's one thing for there to be a delay in bringing transport fuels into the scheme. That is wrong but one can see the political sensitivity to burgeoning fuel prices at the present time. But those prices are not likely to go down so there never will be a best time to bring transport fuels in. And that is the area where the biggest growth in emissions is occuring"
"But the second announcement - the extension of the phase-out of taxpayer support for industry deemed to be at risk makes no sense at all and is not consistent with advice from the Climate Leaders Forum as claimed. The Leaders Forum is supporting a phase-out that is monitored over time and adjusted according to the competitive environment in which at-risk sectors are operating: if offshore competitors are moving quickly to take on obligations then the phase-out would be quicker," said Mr Taylor who is a member of the Forum.
"To continue taxpayer support for big dirty industries through to 2030 is absurd."
"Nothwithstanding our concerns, the basic architecture of the emissions trading scheme is sound and should be supported. In the absence of a carbon tax, it is the only effective way of putting a price on carbon across the whole economy," Mr Taylor concluded.