While Prime Minister John Howard announced last week that “carbon pricing will be integral to any long term response to climate change,” the state governments are not prepared to gamble on federal action.
State and territory leaders on Friday agreed to establish a coordinated emissions trading scheme across their jurisdictions by the end of 2010 if the Commonwealth refuses to act.
BCSE head Ric Brazzale said they recognised emissions growth can be reduced with technologies already available, such as renewable, gas and energy efficiency.
“We have the technologies and the clean energy resources available now. While research and development is important, we do not need to wait for clean coal or nuclear,” he said.
“While a federal emissions scheme would be preferable, we encourage all governments to work together on the challenge of climate change.”
Brazzale continued that a nation wide state trading initiative would headline a number of state government emission reduction strategies already in place.
Other initiatives include:
* Renewable energy targes in Victoria, NSW, SA and WA;
* A mandatory gas emission target in Queensland;
* Legislated greenhouse gas emissions targets in Victoria and SA;
* Minimum building efficiency schemes in each state; and
* Energy savings and demand management incentive programs in Victoria, SA and NSW.
Despite the Prime Minister’s hesitancy around a trading scheme, claiming he did not want to threaten Australia’s economic competitiveness, the premiers and chief ministers are keen to tap into the $30 billion international emissions trading scheme that already exists.
Meanwhile, the Australian Workers Union is also calling for more action on climate change and will this week discuss a motion calling for the Federal Government to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
But it rejected calls by the Greens leader Bob Brown and environmentalist Tim Flannery to shut down the coal industry, instead calling for action on emissions reduction that did not jeopardise jobs.