We risk missing opportunities for investment, jobs and and profits in clean energy emerging industries – John Connor

14 September 2009 – The Rudd Government was failing Australia on the emerging green economy greens groups said after a report showed it ranked at the bottom of the G20 nations in terms of carbon competitiveness.

The report, The G20 Low Carbon Competitiveness Report commissioned by Australia’s Climate Institute and European think tank E3G, showed Australia was ranked 15th, the lowest position of any industrialised nation. Top five positions  were held by France, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Germany

[Access the report from here ]

Both the Australian Greens and the Climate Institute attacked the Government’s hand-outs to heavy carbon polluters at the expense of fostering a new productive green economy.

“There’s no place for further handouts or delay in this Australian and global productivity and competitiveness challenge, said chief executive officer of the Climate Institute, John Connor.

“Many of our trading partners are moving faster and we risk missing opportunities for investment,  jobs and and profits in clean energy emerging industries.”

Australian Greens deputy leader, Senator Christine Milne, said:
“Australians who voted in droves for the exciting potential of a jobs boom from meaningful action on climate change are starting to wonder why that promise vanished in a puff of smoke.”

According to the Climate Institute: “Only Mexico and Argentina are currently improving their carbon productivity rate at a rate which, if continued, will meet their share of a 450 ppm global target by 2020.”

[New science says that the targets are outdated and need to be 350 ppm, a goal that has prompted a new global movement, www.350.org. See the website ]

Other findings in the report include:

* Only Mexico and Argentina are currently improving their carbon productivity rate at a rate which, if continued, will meet their share of a 450 ppm global target by 2020.
* South Africa and Germany are close to being on target and China would also be close if it could return to the carbon productivity gains of the 1990s. Australia is 16th with only Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia requiring bigger turnarounds to reach this target.
* While its carbon productivity is improving, Australia’s low ranking stems from its carbon intensive exports, low use of clean energy and high consumption of transport fuels.

“This report underscores the urgency of preventing further handouts for big polluters, for economy wide reforms with a stronger Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and for more decisive energy efficiency measures to improve Australia’s carbon productivity,” Mr Connor said.

“It also highlights the importance that world leaders gathering next week for UN and G20 meetings to increase financial and investment incentives for clean technologies in developed, but particularly developing, countries,” said Connor. “This is vital to building an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen, which could be the engine for accelerating low carbon growth.”

Ms Milne said a second report, released today by Greenpeace and Institute for Sustainable Futures, Working for the Climate, demonstrated that “more than 30,000 jobs would be created from a gross feed-in tariff for all forms of renewable energy.”

The Rudd Government was actively blocking the creation of those jobs by refusing to support her Private Member’s Bill for a feed-in tariff which was introduced into the House of Representatives and debated in the Senate today, Ms Milne said.

“The Orwellian Automotive Transformation Scheme Bill which is before the Senate today will essentially hand over some $3.35 billion to the car industry to keep doing exactly what it has been doing, losing competitiveness and ditching jobs by failing to clean up its act,” Ms Milne said.

“The Rudd Government’s obsession with sandbagging jobs in the biggest polluting sectors of our economy is short-sighted in the extreme and bound to end in tears.

“Billions of dollars are being handed out to polluters under the pretence of protecting jobs, while sunrise industries which promise to create far more, higher quality jobs are left begging.

“The Australian community, particularly those looking for green jobs in engineering, architecture, manufacturing and much more, are entitled to start asking hard questions of the Rudd Government.

Tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au

The Fifth Estate
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