Kyoto recalcitrance costs billions

New research released by the Australian Conservation Foundation today shows Australia is losing a staggering $3.8 billion per year in investment opportunities as a result of the Government’s failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. “Australia continues to miss out on business opportunities worth billions of dollars by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, because Australian businesses cannot gain credits under the Protocol’s carbon trading mechanisms,” said ACF executive director Don Henry.

The Kyoto Protocol’s Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) would allow Australian companies to gain credits from investing in low-emission and renewable energy projects here and overseas.

The new study, conducted for ACF by sustainability consultancy Cambiar, concludes Australia’s failure to ratify Kyoto means:

• Australian companies are missing out on $2.4 billion every year in credits from carbon reduction projects through the CDM, because of the immense hurdles facing most Australian companies interested in participating in such projects.

• Australian companies involved in carbon reduction projects in Australia are not realising the full value of those projects, because they cannot generate offset credits that could be sold on the JI or EU carbon trading markets. This results in an estimated loss of $1.2 billion per year.

• As a major existing financial hub for the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is a natural centre for a regional carbon trading hub. But this cannot happen without Kyoto ratification. The loss of trading revenue and associated legal, accounting and other services to Australia is estimated at $180 million per year.

“By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol Prime Minister Howard could achieve a great practical economic result from APEC – boosting Australian investments in renewable energy and efficiency measures and helping reduce emissions in other APEC economies,” Mr Henry said.

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