25 November 2009 – As the Opposition rips itself to shreds over the emissions trading scheme the good news, according to the Australian Greens, is that The Australian Conservation Foundation has come back to the fold of the “mainstream environmental movement”.

ACF executive director Don Henry today scotched any residual support for the latest iteration of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, concocted by the Government and Opposition and replete with even greater concessions  to big polluters than before.

“While it is still possible for Australia to cut emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, the transformation to a low carbon economy will be undermined by this deal,” Mr Henry said.

“The excessive long-term industry handouts will make the shift to a low carbon future slower and risk locking us into a heavy polluting economy.

“Every increase in the handouts to big polluters blunts the incentive for industry to clean up its act and eats up revenue that should be put towards climate change solutions and creating clean energy jobs.

“The CPRS is one part of Australia’s response to climate change. The weaker our emissions trading scheme is, the more we have to do in other areas.

“The government will now need to have national laws to make the economy highly energy efficient, mandate fuel efficient cars, introduce stronger renewable energy measures like a gross solar feed-in tariff, invest in public transport and protect our carbon-storing forests and savannahs.

“ACF is disappointed with this package and thinks the Senate should not pass it unless it is significantly strengthened.

“The science shows Australia needs to be cutting emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020.

“Australia still has the opportunity to make a positive difference at Copenhagen by complementing our commitment to a 25 per cent cut by 2020 with support for strong international finance to help developing nations deal with climate change.

“ACF will continue to campaign vigorously for Australia to broaden and strengthen its action on climate change, at home and in the international arena.”

Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said “The ACF was always in an extremely uncomfortable position supporting what its staff and members knew was a bill that would lock in climate failure.

“It is clear, as Don Henry has said today, that this bill, if passed in its current form, will hold back the vital and positive transformation to a clean economy.

“It is very heartening to see the ACF standing up for the position it knew all along was right, and returning to its place in the mainstream of the environment movement in Australia.”

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au

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