Emissions Trading could still fail under fossil fuel lobby pressure

\EmissionsFriends of the Earth Australia has welcomed Professor Garnaut's strong opposition to free permits in his proposed emissions trading scheme, released today, but warned of the dangers of allowing international offsets and industry compensation to undermine the scheme.

MEDIA RELEASE

Emissions Trading could still fail under fossil fuel lobby pressure

20 th March 2008

 

Friends of the Earth Australia has welcomed Professor Garnaut's strong opposition to free permits in his proposed emissions trading scheme, released today, but warned of the dangers of allowing international offsets and industry compensation to undermine the scheme.

"Garnaut's support of auctioning is an important step away from the white-anting of an effective scheme by the fossil fuel industry", Friends of the Earth Australia spokesperson Cam Walker said today.

"However, Friends of the Earth remains very concerned about aspects of Professor Garnaut's plan including the proposals for international trading and offsets and suggestions for industry compensation. This is clearly something the fossil fuel industry desperately wants."

"While Professor Garnaut warns of the problems of offsets and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) he still advocates international trading in carbon and some off-setting."

“Including offsets in an emissions trading scheme undermines the Australian cap on emissions and therefore extends our dependency on fossil fuels. Using a carbon tax alongside government regulations would be more effective at reducing emissions than a trading scheme which includes offsets, provided there is adequate protection for low income communities.”

“Australia must act on it's historic responsibility and make deep and urgent cuts in our emissions ourselves. We should not use developing countries to do this for us through offset mechanisms like the CDM.”

In spite of its name, projects under the CDM often do little to contribute to sustainable development in the developing world, and often have negative environmental and social impacts. Very few CDM credits are actually generated from renewable energy.

"Garnuat has adopted some of the policy of the fossil fuel lobby which is aimed at undermining the schemes effectiveness in reducing Australian emissions. The government should not give in too by implementing these aspects of the framework."

"Climate change will create hundreds of millions of refugees and threaten millions of species. We need urgent and strong action, not another ten years of delay which the fossil fuel lobby wants."

Friends of the Earth recognises that a well-designed emissions trading scheme could only be a part of the solution to making the necessary cuts to emissions. Other measures which must form Australia’s response to climate change are the abolition of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, increased funding for research and development in the renewable energy industries and just transition policies for workers in the fossil fuel industry to transition into jobs in the renewable energy sector.

For more information: Cam Walker 0419 338 047

 

Note: Only 2 % Clean Development Mechanism credits are from renewable energy projects. Other projects include methane extraction from landfills, gas capture, hydro-electric dams, afforestation and reforestation, and energy projects.