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Aussies throw a big spanner in the ETS works

Media Release
1 December 2009

Aussies throw a big spanner in the ETS works

The Australian Emissions Trading Scheme has been thrown into chaos with Tony Abbott rolling Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Australian Liberal Party. Mr Abbott’s first action as Leader, is to seek a referral of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme back to Committee but he is prepared to oppose the legislation in the Senate.

“Given the Coalition, with the support of an independent Senator, did hold the balance of power in the Senate, Australia could well face a double dissolution election if the Bill is lost again in the Senate,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

“There are big implications for our competitiveness. When harmonisation with Australia became too hard after their farmers were shown the exit door, the language changed to ‘reasonable alignment’. Yet what do we call this if they don’t end up with an ETS?

“As it stands right now, the Australian Government and Opposition have each other’s fate in their respective hands. This shows just how serious the ETS is politically in Australia and ironically, comes just 24 hours after the 2025 report came out.

“It’s why Federated Farmers wanted New Zealand to hold off until the Australians got their scheme through.

“It’s been reported that Mr Abbott is no climate change denier but is an emissions trading sceptic. That sums up our position too. Federated Farmers actively supports more trees with water storage and research into practical solutions.

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“That’s why we’re happy to see the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Hon John Key MP, pledge our contribution to an international fund for poorer countries, will now go into the Global Alliance on animal emissions research. This is a sensible move.

“The issues of adaptation and carbon footprinting we face are big issues for developing economies. Like us, they need to export their way to prosperity and that’s hard in a world where carbon footprints are becoming a consumer issue.

“The Prime Minister is totally right to look at practical solutions and not out-and-out charity.

“New Zealand’s contribution of up to $50 million is much better invested into solving the thorny issue of emissions arising from primary food production. $50 million actually represents ten times what is being budgeted next year for agricultural climate variation research.

“The combined figure represents an investment of around 0.033 percent of GDP. This is not far from the 0.05 percent of GDP Federated Farmers has campaigned for. Albeit it’s just a one-off payment.

“Combined with the hundreds of millions of dollars that has and will be spent on the development of policy around climate variation, research is an absolute bargain.

“What farmers now want to see is New Zealand lobbying hard for agriculture’s share of the $14 billion dollar fund that could now be established.

“Given agriculture accounts for 12 percent of global emissions, 12 percent of this fund translates into potentially $1.7 billion that should be prioritised for research via the Global Alliance on animal greenhouse emissions.

“With our contribution, it gives life to the Global Alliance concept that New Zealand, after all, instigated. New Zealand is ideally placed to have a ruminant centre based right here.

“While you could say charity begins at home, this really is a case where charity at home helps those abroad. We now wait to see if the Australians will be as charitable to the ETS as we have,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


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