Aug 1, 2006

Blair & Schwarzenegger lead on climate change

Blair & Schwarzenegger lead on climate change, but Howard Government sitting on its hands


1 August 2006

The United Kingdom and California are preparing to sidestep the Bush administration and fight climate change together by creating a joint emissions trading system for greenhouse gases.

Tony Blair and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for a trans-Atlantic emissions trading system was announced at a meeting of major corporate CEO’s. If established, the emissions trading system would join Europe’s existing emissions trading system.

By setting a cap for carbon emissions and rewarding businesses that find a profitable way to minimize them, emission trading encourages efficiency and new, cleaner energy technologies.

It seems everyone except John Howard and George Bush agree that emissions trading is the best mechanism to encourage investment in clean energy technology and avoiding dangerous climate change.

State Governments in Australia and the United States are taking action to address climate change in response to inaction from Federal Governments.

In Australia, Labor State Governments are developing a state based emissions trading scheme.

In the US, north-eastern States are planning to freeze greenhouse pollution from power stations by 2009, then cut pollution by 10% by 2020. They’ll do that by establishing an emissions trading scheme. California, Washington and Oregon are looking at a similar scheme.

Australia should capitalise on the significant economic opportunities that emissions trading represents. Labor will provide national leadership and establish a national emissions trading scheme, ratify the Kyoto Protocol and support Australia’s clean energy industry.

It is incoherent to argue that Australia should meet its Kyoto target, yet ratifying Kyoto will destroy our economy – you can’t have it both ways.

The Howard Government continues to mismanage Australia’s response to climate change. The Howard Government’s complacency has seen Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rise. When land use changes are excluded, that rise is a disastrous 25.1% between 1990 and 2004.