BRIEF – 10 December 2009 –
As the political row on the emissions trading scheme continues the Energy Efficiency Council has seized on commitment by the major political parties to save energy and called on the Federal Government to release the $200 million it has set aside for the purpose.

These critical funds have been tied up in emissions trading negotiations, but with the negotiations falling apart we mustn’t lose the opportunity to transform Australia’s businesses, chief executive of the Energy Efficiency Council, Rob Murray-Leach said.

“Energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective way to cut carbon pollution. The Centre for International Economics estimates that energy efficiency in the building sector alone would save the Australian economy $38 billion per annum by 2050,” he said.

“Both the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbot have put energy efficiency at the heart of their climate change policies. The Liberal party have proposed to directly drive energy efficiency.

“Labor are following Professor Garnaut’s advice and committed to complementing an emissions trading scheme with energy efficiency policies.

“In the longer-term, Australia will need a set of programs to drive the full potential for energy efficiency, particularly in commercial buildings and sectors like manufacturing and mining.

“These sectors have been largely ignored, but if Australia’s top 200 energy users improved their efficiency by just 20 per cent it could deliver immediate savings of $5 billion per annum.

Mr Murray-Leach, said the International Energy Agency, the top global expert in energy, estimates that 65 per cent of worldwide carbon cuts to 2020 will come from energy efficiency.