27 April 2010 – Green groups have reacted angrily to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s scrapping of the emissions trading scheme, at last until after 2012.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Christine Milne said the Prime Minister had “thrown away any claims to global leadership on climate action.”

In a statement released today, Senator Milne said that the Prime Minister’s global leadership on climate change was “already severely damaged by repeated statements that his government would do ‘no more and no less’ than the rest of the world.”

“Today’s decision can only hold back global talks by undermining trust in the Australian government’s good faith,” she said.

Director of the Total Environment Centre, Jeff Angel, also called the Prime Minister’s leadership into question.
“Leadership on climate change was a key election promise which has now been sacrificed to political expediency,” he said in a media release today.

“The results of an Auspoll released today indicate that the electorate’s trust in Rudd’s ability to manage climate change has dropped to 36 per cent. Clearly Australians want to see climate change addressed immediately, not at some nebulous point in the future.

“Each year a billion dollars in savings could be received by Australia’s 8.3 million households and business if concrete action on energy efficiency is adopted.  This would also help offset the energy price rises being driven by the massive and inefficient network infrastructure expansion that governments have approved.”

Executive director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry, said that the prime minister’s shelving of the ETS was “totally unacceptable.”

“To put comprehensive climate action in the too-hard basket until 2013 would be bad for the environment, de-stabilising for business and totally unacceptable to the millions of Australians who want government leadership on climate change,” he said in a media release today.

“We need leadership from Government and Opposition on an issue Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described as the great moral and economic challenge of our time.

“The reported delay would put the Rudd Government three years behind in its election promise to introduce an emissions trading scheme in 2010.

“Australia is already feeling the effects of climate change and we will suffer much more if we further delay action.

“Our leaders can help leave a less polluted and safer world to our children by making big companies pay for the pollution they produce and investing the revenue in building a clean economy and jobs.

“China, the EU, Japan and other countries are acting on climate change and investing at scale in the clean energy economy.

“If we don’t take action we’ll be left behind with a 20th century, rust bucket economy.”

Mr Rudd today said the government would now wait until the end of 2012 to implement the CPRS. However, he said there was no change in the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.