Media Releases | 2nd Feb, 2010

Coalition’s carbon plan fails to cap emissions and lacks credibility

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Coalition’s climate change strategy released this afternoon would fail to guarantee emissions reductions, Environment Victoria said today.

“The Coalition’s fund may provide some incentive for some emission reducing activities, but it does not guarantee a cap on Australia’s emissions. The fund could be a useful complement to a price on carbon, but without the price on carbon the plan is wishful thinking and not credible,” Environment Victoria’s Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said.

“While there are carrots for initiatives that reduce pollution, there are no sticks there to ensure that the big polluters change their ways.

“In fact, it is possible that pollution could increase under the scheme if the nation’s biggest polluters, including Victoria’s brown coal generators, expand their operations or if new coal-fired power stations are built.”

Mr Wakeham said as the alternative government, the Coalition needs to deliver a climate strategy that demonstrates to the international community that Australia is serious about climate change.

“The Coalition’s plan reinforces Kevin Rudd’s woefully inadequate 5 per cent emissions reduction target, and then proposes a scheme without an enforceable cap. For 11 years under the Howard Government we had emission reduction incentive programs without an enforceable cap. Over this period greenhouse emissions continued to rise,” he said.

“If the Coalition want to be taken seriously on climate change they need to develop a plan that will guarantee substantial emissions reductions and force big polluters to change their behaviour rather than hope that polluters have a change of heart.”

Environment Victoria said the Coalition’s Climate change strategy did contain some worthwhile and interesting initiatives.

“The proposed 1 million solar roof program, for example, would provide a shot in the arm for the solar industry and make solar hot water and electricity more affordable for Australian households,” Mr Wakeham said.

“However, without a price on carbon such programs are just window-dressing and fail to deliver the transformative change we need across our economy.

“Neither Tony Abbot’s nor Kevin Rudd’s plan stacks up in addressing the climate crisis. To avoid the worst of climate change countries like Australia need to halve our emissions over the next decade.

“To do that we’ll need as a central plank of our climate policy a price on carbon that guarantees a shift away from polluting power generation in Australia. So far, neither the ALP nor the Coalition appear to be offering Australians an adequate or credible climate change platform in the lead up to the Federal election.”

For further comments or interviews, please contact Mark Wakeham on 0439 700 501.