Media Releases | 20th Apr, 2004

Industry blackmail on climate change policies to be opposed

Wednesday, 21 April 2004

National and state peak environment groups today vowed to oppose a campaign by Victoria’s biggest manufacturers to bully the Victorian Government into watering down policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The electricity-generators, coal, aluminium, cement, plastics and other big greenhouse polluting industries are lobbying Treasurer John Brumby to intercede and block an energy efficient and environmentally friendly economy, they said.

“The manufacturers are engaged in a scare mongering campaign and don’t want an intelligent debate on climate change policies. Global warming is a critical problem for everyone and in the absence of Federal Government commitment to a carbon trading scheme, the states have to act,” said Jeff Angel, Director of Total Environment Centre.

“Claims that a carbon trading scheme would drive investment overseas are simply blackmail and ignore the fact that many countries, including developing nations are also adopting trading schemes.”

“The manufacturers want Victoria stuck in the energy dark ages. The best way to control costs and emissions is to bring energy efficiency and a carbon market to the top of the agenda. This will create thousand of new jobs and improve the state’s competitiveness. More dirty, inefficient Loy Yangs are not the way of the future,” said Darren Gladman, of Environment Victoria.

“Climate change will result in more droughts, cyclones and water shortages in our cities. It will have a damaging effect on the Australian economy, particularly agriculture and tourism,” said Julie-Anne Richards of Climate Action Network Australia.

“Well designed emissions trading schemes allow market forces to determine the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse emissions, and will be crucial in avoiding dangerous impacts of climate change.”

Don Henry, Australian Conservation Foundation Executive-Director said: “The Victorian Government and John Thwaites are headed in the right direction. I’m sure John Brumby will see the threats for what they are – self-interested bullying.”

“Victorian Environment minister John Thwaites is to be commended for seeking to introduce a carbon trading system because it exposes Victoria’s biggest manufacturing companies’ role as the largest greenhouse gas polluters in the state,” WWF campaigner Melanie Hutton said.

The groups said they supported the current round of discussions by all states on a carbon trading scheme and would be providing proposals in the next few months. They will also be seeking a meeting with Victorian Treasurer, John Brumby.