Media Release Mon 29th Nov 2010 - Cancun

Fund clean development by taxing dirty carbon

As global climate talks resume in Cancun, community group Climate Action Hobart called on the Australian Government to commit to a meaningful tax on Australia's carbon pollution, with 100% of the funds dedicated to reducing the current and future energy cost exposure of vulnerable households and small businesses.

"The big carbon polluters have had a free ride at the planet's expense for far too long…", said Climate Action Hobart spokesperson, Hannah Aulby, "…while energy users pay ever higher prices. Climate change has been a scientific reality for decades. Only the willingness of a succession of governments to give in to the big polluters has prevented a price being put on carbon pollution years ago".

The Rudd Government failed to deliver an emissions trading scheme that would have placed a price on carbon, contributing directly to the former Prime Minister's downfall and the installation of a minority Labor government in Canberra.

"The Australian Government has not only misread the science of climate change - which makes it clear we are at least a decade too late in pushing the 'go' button on urgent emissions reductions - it has also badly misread the mood of the Australian people on this issue", said Climate Action Hobart spokesperson, Phil Harrington. "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but the public is awake to the government's obfuscation and inaction. It knows that the big polluters continue to make climate policy in this country".

Climate Action Hobart today called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet to commit to legislating a substantial price on carbon pollution in 2011.

"A substantial price on carbon is need to drive investment in renewable energy and low carbon-emission industries and to stop investment in new coal-fired power stations ", said Mr Harrington. "Instead of subsidising the biggest polluters like her predecessor, we call on the Gillard Government to dedicate 100% of the carbon tax revenues to reducing the stress on vulnerable energy users, helping them to reduce their energy consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. Any remaining funds should be invested in a 100% renewable energy future for Australia to reduce our future carbon risks."

The IPCC's 4th Assessment report said that developed countries need to reduce emissions by between 25% and 40% by 2020. In Copenhagen, the Australian Government submitted an unconditional target of 5 % reduction by 2020, with commitments for up to 15 % and 25 % reductions conditional on the extent of action by other countries.