Climate Authority Reviews Emission Trading Schemes

Climate Authority Review of Emission Trading Schemes – Calls for Submission

Most people will remember Clive Palmer’s sensational climate change press conference with Al Gore last year. He said he would support the repeal of the carbon price on the condition that the government assess the merits of implementing an emissions trading scheme. This prompted Greg Hunt to commission the Climate Change Authority to commence such a review. The Authority has now developed a consultation paper and is inviting submissions and responses to 17 questions laid out in the report.

Since the terms of reference for the review were issued, the context has changed significantly, adding importance to this consultation opportunity. In particular:

  • The ambition of COP21 in Paris is likely to result in a more ambitious global goal of less than 1.5 degrees of warming.
  • COP21 is also setting the pace for recognising the role of civil society (in particular big corporates) in meeting any target and for associating them closely with the negotiation process.• Malcolm Turnbull is seen as much more open to strong action on climate change (although this is yet to translate to policy change).
  • The government has committed to reviewing Australia’s suite of climate policies in 2017, which is widely expected to result in strengthening existing measures (in particular the forthcoming Safeguarding Mechanism) to meet Australia’s 2030 targets.

The consultation draft provides limited but well articulated reflections on the large body of worldwide experience in applying various policy instruments to the wickedly complex field of climate change. It also suggests that different instruments and programs could be better suited for specific economic sectors.

Our view is that the more input from the business community, the richer the policy response will be, and, importantly, the more likely it is that a bi-partisan approach can be adopted on core policy elements. This is essential to providing the stable regulatory environment businesses need to make their decisions. We consider it essential for Australian businesses to feel confident that they can be part of a concerted and strategic transformation to a low carbon economy. A well-managed transition is required to avoid defensive and protective attitudes that would set us back as a country and further destroy our productivity and competitiveness.

We therefore encourage all interested parties to think broadly about the long term and what government regulatory environment is required to facilitate such a transition, and to participate in the consultation process.

For further information, or to discuss what you may want to consider in developing your submission, please contact Christophe Brulliard or Charlie Knaggs.