Greens move to break the climate policy deadlock

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has moved to break the current political deadlock on climate policy by putting up a proposal for a $23-a-tonne cabon price for a two year period.  The proposal is based on a recommendation from the Garnaut Climate Change Review for an interim set price prior to the introduction of a full emission trading system.

Watch Senators Bob Brown and Christine Milne’s press conference

Currently the Rudd government is planning to reintroduce its deeply flawed CPRS (which does virtually nothing to reduce emissions, but gives billions in compensation to big polluters and allows them to buy dodgy overseas offsets rather than actually reduce Australia’s emissions).   The Greens will not vote for the CPRS because it locks in climate failure, and Liberal Leader thinks “climate change is crap” and won’t vote for “the great big tax”.

Now the Greens are putting forward this proposal to trying and get at least some price on climate pollution.

You can read Senator Brown and Senator Milne’s press release on the issue and read the breifing note.

Greens propose Garnaut’s interim solution to break CPRS deadlock

Media Release | Spokesperson Bob Brown, Christine Milne
Thursday 21st January 2010

The Australian Greens have today written to the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and all relevant Senators proposing a deadlock-breaking interim solution to get Australia moving ahead with real action on the climate crisis.

The Greens propose that Professor Garnaut’s suggestion of a two year carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne be implemented. This interim measure in the transition to a functional and effective emissions trading scheme would provide a $5 billion dividend for households and further revenue to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other emissions reducing options.

“We Greens are putting forward another positive proposal to break the political deadlock and get Australia moving ahead to a clean future,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said.

“The interim scheme is a building block for future action that’s got real teeth. It will give certainty to increasingly impatient investors and will direct billions of dollars to Australia’s householders instead of paying polluters to keep polluting.

“If we can get broad, cross-party support for this proposal it will show both investors and global negotiators that Australia is serious about tackling the climate crisis.”

The proposal (details available on request) would:
• use the existing CPRS structure with a carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne (2005 dollars);
• recycle revenue to support household, commercial, industrial and transport emissions reductions;
• prevent the use of international offsets in the CPRS, as international trading is not possible in the interim fixed-price period;
• be in surplus rather than deficit in the first two years; and
• get moving immediately, bringing the start date back to July 1 2010.

“The beauty of this interim proposal is that it sends investors the beginnings of the signal they need without locking in climate failure, as the CPRS would do in its current state,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

“This scheme is designed to be strengthened later whereas, if the CPRS is passed as it stands, it will be almost impossible to lift its ambition. Unlike the CPRS, there is no way this proposal can hold back action.

“With no prospect of Mr Abbott supporting the CPRS, bringing the bill back in February is looking like a political exercise that will get the government nowhere.

“We propose to move immediately with an interim low carbon price. We can then discuss the longer term solutions Australia will need over the coming two years, secure in the knowledge that a carbon price is already in place, helping to unleash innovative and job creating climate solutions.”

You can also listen to Senator Mline talk about the proposal on ABC’s AM program.

Prime Minister Rudd said he was open to looking at the proposal.

The Australian’s coverage of the proposal.

Read Christine Milne’s opinion piece on the proposal.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s article on the proposal.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW backed the move, as did Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

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