Australia can only achieve prosperity, competitiveness and fairness in the 21st century with stronger climate policies that improve carbon and energy productivity, said an alliance of social, union, environment and research organisations today, releasing a policy platform Productivity, Fairness and Sustainable Climate Action.
The Southern Cross Climate Coalition, which comprises the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Climate Institute, was formed in 2008 and aims to promote climate change solutions that will create employment opportunities and protect the most vulnerable parts of the community.
"The adoption of low carbon and energy productive technologies and practices is essential for maintaining and growing jobs," said Australian Council of Trade Unions President Ged Kearney.
"This applies to both traditional industries that will continue to play an important role in a low carbon economy, and innovative industries that can emerge with a focus on carbon and energy productivity.
"People on low incomes are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, so we need action that is environmentally effective, protects the most vulnerable and creates clean employment opportunities for all," said Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
The platform says more than 190 countries, including the US and China, agree that keeping average global warming below two degrees Celcius gives the world a good chance – although not a guarantee – of avoiding the worst of climate change. Avoiding two degrees Celcius is in Australian's national climate interest.
The platform recommends policies in four areas:
- reduce emissions intensity;
- boost energy efficiency;
- underpin industry development, and;
- build resilience to climate impacts.
"The world is currently heading towards four degrees of warming. All countries including Australia need to step up and deliver their fair share of the global effort to keep warming below two degrees," said Australian Conservation Foundation Director of Environmental Campaigns Paul Sinclair.
"Ignoring carbon productivity ignores both climate risks as well as the economic opportunities that are available in taking climate action," said Climate Institute CEO John Connor. "Our economic debate needs to focus on carbon productivity as well minimising the costs of growing climate impacts."
- Australian Conservation Foundation – Josh Meadows, 03 9345 1109 or 0439 342 992
- Australian Council of Trade Unions – Eleni Hale, 0418 793 885
- Australian Council of Social Service – Fernando de Freitas, 02 9310 6209 or 0419 626 155
- The Climate Institute – Kristina Stefanova, 02 8239 6299 or 0407 004 03