The states should be commended for showing leadership in proposing an Emissions Trading Scheme in the face of complete inaction from the Federal Government on climate change.
Victoria’s leading green group has welcomed the state’s discussion paper on an emissions trading scheme as an important step forward in the battle to reduce climate change.
Environment Victoria’s Climate Change Campaign Director Tricia Phelan said urgent action was needed to encourage our worst polluting industries to help put the brakes on climate change.
“Whether that action is a tax on greenhouse pollution or an emissions trading scheme – we don’t really care – as long as it is effective in making deep cuts in emissions, free of loopholes and covers our biggest polluters.”
“An emissions trading scheme will provide businesses with an incentive to reduce their greenhouse pollution, as long as the permit price is high enough.”
“To be effective it must be mandatory, simple, limit red-tape, provide businesses with a level playing field to compete and, most importantly, deliver real reductions in our greenhouse pollution .”
However Ms Phelan said an emissions trading scheme was not a silver bullet for climate change and should be part of a range of government, industry and community action.
“Emissions trading alone, although important, will not deliver the deep cuts we need to avoid dangerous climate change. Long term renewable energy targets, widespread energy efficiency programs and a legislated commitment to cut our emissions by 20% by 2020, are also required now.”
Ms Phelan said Australia is the worst greenhouse polluter, per person, in the industrialised world and economic incentives were needed to make industry more energy-efficient.
“Until we make companies pay for the pollution they produce or reward them for the energy efficiency measures they introduce, there is no economic driver for them to change.”
“The discussion paper is a good sign of the continued commitment by all state governments and we urge them to progress beyond talks and set up a scheme by their proposed 2010 start date.”
“The community is already facing significant hidden costs of climate change – greater drought relief for farmers and higher insurance premiums can be attributed in part to climate change.
“If we don’t introduce small price signals to encourage people and industry to reduce electricity then the cost of climate change, not solely financial, will be a lot more in years to come.”
“Climate change will impact on our health, economy, ability to grow food and collect water,” Ms Phelan said.