With industry lobby groups claiming the staged closure of the coal industry would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, environment groups have released briefing papers examining the claims made by two of the big polluters, TRUenergy and Xstrata, about the impact a pollution price would have on their businesses.
The briefing papers, released by Greenpeace, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Environment Victoria, show while Xstrata and TRUenergy publicly claim a price on carbon will devastate them, they tell their shareholders they are dealing with climate change and there’s nothing to worry about.
TRUenergy boss Richard McIndoe recently said a carbon price and the closure of certain dirty coal-fired power stations would mean “lights out overnight” for Victoria, but the company’s official line to shareholders is: “TRUenergy understands that its role in mitigating climate change requires significant changes to the way we conduct our business, the technologies we use to generate energy and in the relationships we have with our customers”
Environment Victoria’s campaigns director Mark Wakeham said:
“If TRUenergy is serious about a carbon price and the closure of dirty coal-fired power stations resulting in power failures, the company should warn the Australian Stock Exchange and the Energy Regulator that it may be about to default on its electricity supply contracts.”
“It’s time big polluters stopped speaking with forked tongue and stopped using scare tactics as a way to crowbar more money out of the carbon pricing scheme,” said Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign team leader Trish Harrup.
“Xstrata produced nearly 4 million tonnes of pollution in Australia last year, its operating profit increased by 75 per cent to $7.7 billion and it stands to get millions more from Australian taxpayers through industry assistance arrangements, so the claim a carbon price would have a significant detrimental impact on its business is simply not believable,” said ACF economic adviser Simon O’Connor.
“Australians – especially young Australians – want the government to get on with the job of tackling climate change and that means ignoring the threats and scare tactics of the big polluters,” said Australian Youth Climate Coalition policy director Jane Stabb.