Civil society statement on a credible plan on pollution and climate change

1 September 2010

We are a diverse group of leading civil society organisations that represent a broad cross-section of Australians.

We believe that Australia urgently needs a price on pollution as the most cost-effective way to reduce our greenhouse pollution and its impacts on our climate, health, environment, and security.

We strongly support the establishment of a multi-partisan climate change committee as part of a broader effort to increase accountability and transparency on climate change policy and to ensure Australia moves quickly to establish a price on pollution and respond to climate change.

It is well established that the longer we delay action, the more expensive action will be. It is also well established that an equitable, efficient and effective response to climate change requires major polluters to take responsibility for the pollution they cause. As citizens and consumers, we will share this responsibility.

A price on and commitments to reduce pollution, alongside the Renewable Energy Target and a national energy efficiency strategy, will provide incentives for business to shift to cleaner energy and products. The current uncertainty surrounding pollution pricing has undermined investor confidence and is delaying the long-term investments that are necessary to shift to a cleaner economy and provide abatement opportunities for regional Australia.

There is strong community support for urgent action to tackle pollution and climate change. Most Australians recognise that pollution is currently at levels that threaten the wellbeing of our nation and the lives of the world’s poor — who are most at risk from the impacts of the changing climate. We need to begin immediately to make the change to clean energy to ensure there is a future for all of the world’s children.

A credible and effective plan to reduce pollution and respond to climate change will release billions of dollars of new investments. This will make clean energy cheaper, ensure major emitters take responsibility for the pollution they cause, create thousands of new jobs in clean energy industries and new opportunities in regional Australia.

We urge all parties involved in negotiations for the formation of the next Government to include a strong platform for action on pollution and climate change.

Specifically, we urge all members and senators to commit the next Australian Parliament to implement a price and a limit on carbon pollution, effective from 2011, that will provide long-term confidence and encouragement to enable investments in clean technologies in Australia and developing countries, that will ensure that the vulnerable are not adversely impacted, and will set us on the right course to meet the challenge of climate change.

Signed by: Australia
Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Council of Social Service
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Climate Action Centre
Climate Action Network Australia
The Climate Institute
Climate Change Australia – Hastings
Climate Change Balmain – Roselle
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
Environment Victoria
Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Oxfam Australia
Terrain Natural Resource Management
Total Environment Centre
Uniting Church in Australia
World Vision Australia
WWF Australia

Comment is available from:

Georgina Woods (Climate Action Network Australia) 0407 227 633
Tony Mohr (Australian Conservation Foundation) 0408806206
Amanda McKenzie (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) 0409535437
Tessa Boyd-Caine (Australian Council of Social Services) 0419626155
Sacha Myers (World Vision Australia) 0457 926 018
Keiller MacDuff (Greenpeace) 0429 033 411