1 January 2010 – The Australian Greens have proposed a compromise deal to break the impasse on the carbon pollution reduction scheme.

On the table is the proposal originally made by Ross Garnaut, author of the Garnaut Climate Change Review for a two year carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne as a “transition to a functional and effective emissions trading scheme.”

This would provide the country with a “$5 billion dividend for households and further revenue to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other emissions reducing options,” the Greens said.

“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 Greens said the proposal would:

  • use the existing CPRS structure with a carbon price fixed at $20 a tonne (at equivalent 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
  • get moving immediately, bringing the start date back to July 1 2010.

Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said a major benefit of the scheme would be to send a signal to investors that did not lock in climate failure, as the current CPRS scheme would do.

“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.”

Ms Milne said that with the prospect that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would not support the CPRS, the government’s intention to bring the back in February looked 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.

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au
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