Media Releases | 17th Jul, 2014

Repeal of carbon laws a windfall for big polluters and a blow for a safe climate

17 July 2014

The Federal Government’s repeal of Australia’s carbon laws is poor policy, short-sighted and protects vested interests ahead of Australia’s national interest according to leading environment group Environment Victoria.

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said the only winners from the repeal of the carbon laws would be polluting industries, and that Victoria’s five coal-fired power stations – the dirtiest in the country – would be the largest beneficiaries.

“The carbon price repeal will be remembered by future generations as a betrayal of the national interest. All the evidence points to Australia being devastated by global warming, with fire, flood, drought and heatwaves happening more often and with greater severity.

“Seven years ago this week Prime Minister Howard promised to introduce an emissions trading scheme to reduce greenhouse pollution. Today’s Coalition doesn’t appear to accept the scientific evidence or economic expertise, and plans to replace a policy which is working with a policy which won’t – and which may not even pass through Parliament.”

Mr Wakeham said owners of power stations like Hazelwood, Yallourn and Anglesea were the largest beneficiaries of the carbon price repeal.

“For each of the past two years Australia’s dirtiest power stations have received an up-front $1 billion compensation package for the carbon price. The logic of this compensation was that it compensated asset owners for the loss of value of their assets as their polluting power stations would be subject to a pollution charge for decades.

“The owners of these polluting power stations win twice today – firstly they are no longer subject to a carbon price and can pollute without sanction, and secondly they get to hold on to a $2 billion windfall profit.

“Meanwhile the Abbott Government has today made every existing and proposed renewable energy project in Australia less profitable. It’s a great shame that Clive Palmer and Ricky Muir, who have both talked about their love of renewable energy this week and the need to maintain the renewable energy target and agencies, sided with the Coalition to damage the clean energy industry today.

“Despite Australia’s failure of leadership today the need for emergency global action on global warming has not gone away. Australians overwhelmingly want action to reduce pollution from all levels of government. Globally those countries at the forefront of the transition to clean energy are already reaping the economic benefits.

“The challenge now for all those worried about our future is to ensure that this backwards step is momentary and fleeting, and to rebuild political pressure for leadership on climate change.

“In the same way coastal people around the world will not be able to stop the tides rising around their ankles from pollution that has already entered the atmosphere, politicians who delay and frustrate action on global warming will be cast out of office by the tides of public opinion.”

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