ACF urges Senators: fix CPRS, then pass it. Neville Gillmore
The climate change problem is too urgent and Australia has too much to lose for the Parliament not too fix the flaws in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), the Australian Conservation Foundation told a Senate inquiry in Melbourne today.
ACF executive director Don Henry told the Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy tens of thousands of lives, hundreds of thousands of jobs and some of Australia’s most beautiful places were at risk if Australia responded weakly to climate change.
“This year’s heatwave and bushfires are a foretaste of a much worse future if we don’t act now,” Mr Henry said.
“More than 50,000 jobs in the tourism and recreation sectors are dependent on a healthy and attractive Great Barrier Reef and thousands more jobs that depend on the ski fields, the Daintree Rainforest and Kakadu are similarly at risk.
“A weak Australian and global response to climate change will condemn these Australian icons and many of the jobs that depend on them. On the other hand, Australian leadership on climate change can generate more than half a million jobs and help achieve strong global action to avoid dangerous climate change.”
Mr Henry said it was in Australia’s national interest that an agreement to substantially cut greenhouse pollution was reached at the global negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
“We call on the Parliament to set strong Australian targets, not the existing weak targets, to cut emissions. We call for the CPRS be fixed and passed this year. In its current form it carries a high risk of entrenching Australia in a laggard position on climate change.”
Mr Henry said for the emissions trading scheme to be effective it must have a strong 2020 target to reduce emissions and strong measures to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“This Parliament has the unique chance to promote strong action on climate change at precisely the time it is needed. As a nation we have the opportunity to play a key role in averting the worst of climate change and promoting strong jobs growth in the clean economy of the future. I urge all Parliamentarians to grasp this historic opportunity now.”