Aug 16, 2006

Costello & Howard at odds over emissions trading

Costello & Howard at odds over emissions trading


16 August 2006

On 18 January 2006, in a speech in Los Angeles supporting price signals for energy, Peter Costello stated that:

A market based solution will give the right signal to producers and to consumers. It will make clear the opportunity cost of using energy resources, thereby encouraging more and better investment in additional sources of supply and improving the efficiency with which they are used. That has to be good for both producers and consumers and better for the environment.

It is not surprising Peter Costello made this statement as in August 2003 a Cabinet submission to establish a national emissions trading scheme was co-sponsored by four Departments – Treasury, Environment, Industry & Foreign Affairs.

Unfortunately, the joint Cabinet submission was scuttled by the Prime Minister who is stuck in the past and unable to embrace the future.

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. Emissions trading is the least costly way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The States are taking action on this critical issue in the absence of leadership from the Howard Government.

In April 2006, the Business Round Table on Climate Change called for early action on climate change. Companies like BP, Origin Energy, Visy, Westpac and the Insurance Australia Group support a national emissions trading scheme and stated that if we delay action to cut emissions, electricity prices will be three times higher than if we act now.

The cost of not taking action is huge. That’s why Peter Costello took a proposal to Cabinet in 2003 to establish a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme.

Tony Blair and Arnold Schwarzenegger recently announced a proposal for a trans-Atlantic emissions trading system. 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.

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